Piazza di San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), the largest public square of Venice, is the spiritual center of the city and the “gateway” to all of Venice’s famous landmarks. The Piazza dates back to 809 when the first Doge’s (Chief Magistrate) church was erected; 10 years later, relics of St. Mark were brought to the city from Alexandria. The Piazza was then named for “San Marco”.
The original Campanile di San Marco (Bell Tower of St. Mark’s Church) was first erected in 1156 – 1173 and rebuilt in 1912 after the collapse of the original tower. It stands across from the church and is diagonal from the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace).
The first Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace), erected in the 9th Century on the Piazza di San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), was destroyed by fire. The majestic pink-and-white marble palace that stands today was begun on the current location in 1340 and extended in 1424 at the edge of Piazza di San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), along the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Basin (see the “Bridge of Sighs” in our previous post).
The Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower), with the Lion of Venice, was build in Piazza di San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) in 1499. The street under the tower leads to the famous Rialto Bridge, which is the largest (and principal) bridge across the Canal Grande (Grand Canal).
“The Horses of Saint Mark, also know as the Triumphal Quadriga, is a set of bronze statues of four horses, originally part of a monument depicting a quadrille (a four-horse carriage used for chariot racing). The horses were placed on the facade, on the loggia above the porch, of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, after the sack of Constantinople in 1204. They remained there until looted by Napoleon in 1797 but were returned in 1815. The sculptures have been removed from the facade and placed in the interior of St. Mark’s for conservation purposes, with replicas in their position on the logia.” — Wikipedia
When wandering around Venice by foot, one is constantly surprised by unexpected vistas — canals, palazzos (palaces) — including lovely balconies, gondolas, boats, locals going about their day-to-day business and shopping, etc,
Of course there are dozens of stores (and small artisanal production shops) with the famed Venetian masks.