Piazza San Marco Overview

Piazza San Marco, also known as Saint Mark's Square, is the largest and one of the most important tourist attractions of Venice. Being the widest swath of flat, open land in the water-bound city, the square has long been a popular destination for visitors to enjoy the true essence of Venice. Since the earlier Republic days, life has revolved around this piazza; then it was a market, as well as the center of social, religious and political life. Being of the finest squares in the world, Piazza San Marco is certainly Venice's prime attraction.

The square is surrounded by the stately arcades of public buildings on three sides and on the fourth, by Basilica di San Marco's riot of domes, arches, and the soaring St. Mark's campanile. It is 180 m long and 70 m wide and is the only “piazza” in Venice, and the remaining squares are called “piazzales” or “campos”. The Piazza has been developed over a long period of time and under the leadership of many strong personalities, it started around 800 and the construction and reconstruction continued till the time of Napoleon and later. The great Napoleon marked this square as “the drawing room of Europe" for its incredible artworks.

The Square was named after the unusual and stunning Basilica of St Mark that dominates the east end of the square. The slender Campanile di San Marco, the Basilica's bell tower, and the number of museums are the attraction for the visitors. The lines waiting to enter the basilica, always crowded piazza, ringing bells from the clock tower, fascinating waterline, all make the square the most popular attraction in Venice.

How To Reach

The nearest Airport to reach Piazza San Marco is Venice Treviso Airport (TSF) which is 27km away.  There are many ways to reach Piazza San Marco from Venice Treviso Airport including Bus, taxi, Drive, and Towncar. The fastest mode of transport to reach the place is to take a taxi which costs around INR 6,500 - INR 8,000 and takes approx. 33 min. One the other hand, the cheapest way to get from the Airport to Piazza San Marco is to drive which costs INR 330 - INR 480 and also takes 33 min.

The driving distance is 31km. The visitors can also avail of the direct bus services available here which starts from Treviso Airport and arrives at Venice. The Bus services depart hourly and operate every day. The journey takes around 1h 10m and costs about INR 750 - INR 1,100. The bus services to Piazza San Marco are operated by ATVO S.p.A. and it departs from Treviso Airport station.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to enjoy the beauty of Piazza San Marco is in April, May, September, and October. The best season for Sightseeing of the Piazza is mid-spring; particularly the first half of May is an excellent time to enjoy sightseeing in this Piazza and the entire Venice. In the summertime, the square is teeming with tourists.

Though the fall is also a lovely time to visit Venice, there is a change of occurring the acqua alta or “flooding” or "high water". October to January is the typical high water season in Piazza San Marco, though flooding can occur at any time during the year.

During winter, the temperature falls but the sun makes a daily bright appearance, while the weather becomes comfortably warm. Therefore, winter can be very romantic and ethereal to the visitors. No matter what time of year you visit, there are always some things to do and see on St. Mark's Square.

Other Essential Information

Piazza San Marco, 30100 Venezia - Venice, Italy

Entry Fee: Piazza San Marco is free to enter and requires no ticket. There are several places to visit in this square and some of them need admission fees. To save time for the visitors, a single San Marco Square Museum Pass is available which includes admission to the Doge's Palace, Museo Correr, Archaeological Museum, and the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.

Distance from Nearest Airport: Venice Treviso Airport (TSF) is the nearest airport to Piazza San Marco. The distance between Venice Treviso Airport (TSF) and Piazza San Marco is about 27 km. By road, the distance is about 31 km.

History of Piazza San Marco

The construction of this popular public square of Venice was started in the 9th century in front part of the Saint Mark's Basilica & Doge's Palace. Then the Piazza San Marco was detached from the Doge’s palace by the Rio Batario, a small canal. Later the square was enlarged in the 12th century. The construction of the campanile, the bell tower of the square, started in 1173 and ended in 1514. It was rebuilt a total of three times in different periods of time and the latest version of the tower was constructed in 1912. Since the 14th century, the piazza has been surrounded by the Saint Marks Basilica, the Doges' Palace and the Church of San Geminiano on three sides of it.

Later in the sixteenth century, a lovely, richly decorated building “Loggetta del Sansovino” was constructed by Jacopo Sansovino at the base of the bell tower to be used as a council waiting room for the Doge’s palace. Initially, the Piazza was made up of bricks; the bricks were arranged in a unique pattern called herringbone. With time, the bricks started to degenerated and in 1735, the bricks were replaced with natural stone to make the piazza more strong and decorative. In 1493, an astronomical clock was specially made by Venice to install it in a new clock tower in the Piazza with a high archway beneath.

The Architecture of Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco has developed over a long period of time and reflection of different eras and architectural techniques can be observed here. The rectangle design of the Piazza always exhibited the city's aristocracy and is most impressive from its sea approach, which is a reminder of Venice's centuries-old legacy as a powerful maritime republic. Here you can find a number of evidences of Venetian Renaissance architecture.

Travelers Tip for Visiting Piazza San Marco 

1. Start early in the morning -
It’s a good idea to start your Sightseeing of the Piazza early in the morning to avoid overcrowded in pick season; popular tourist spots and museums remain almost empty in the early morning.

2. Packing Tips - Regardless of the time of year, it is very important to carry your travel umbrella when you are in Venice.

3. Caution - In an effort to restrict the damage by pigeon droppings on Venice's many UNESCO Heritage sites, feeding the pigeons is prohibited here and any violators could be fined €50 to €200.
Read More

Tourism Board Alliances

Piazza San Marco FAQs

What is Piazza San Marco famous for?

Piazza San Marco is Venice's main public square and contains its most famous architecture, museums, and buildings including St Mark's Basilica, the Doge's Palace, Archeological Museum, and so on. Once Napoleon mentioned Piazza San Marco as “the world's most beautiful drawing room”. The excellent architecture of the square, presence of religious, social, and cultural centers make the piazza attractive to the visitors throughout the world.

Why was Piazza San Marco built?

Piazza San Marco was built in the ninth century as a small square dotted with trees. The square was constructed facing towards the original St. Mark's Basilica. In the Year 1174, the piazza was enlarged after the canal and an adjacent dock were filled in. The square became tiled with bricks in 1267 in a herringbone pattern. In the year 1735, the bricks of the pavement were exchanged with natural stone to make them strong and beautiful and laid in a more complicated pattern according to a design devised by architect Andrea Tirali.

When was Piazza San Marco built?

The construction of Piazza San Marco was started in 800 and over time it was enlarged and reconstructed by different rulers. IT was constructed in the 9th century in front of Saint Mark's Basilica and the adjacent Doge's Palace. In the 12th century, the square was enlarged after a canal and dock were filled in.

Is St Mark's Basilica free to enter?

Yes. Entrance to the Basilica is free, but visitors should expect to pay entrance fees during holidays or to special parts of the basilica complex, such as the Saint Mark's museum, the Bell Tower, Pala d'Oro, and the Treasury.

Can you take photos inside St Mark's Basilica?

No, photography is not allowed inside St Mark's Basilica.

How long did it take to build St Mark's Basilica?

First time the Basilica was constructed in 928 and later in 976, the first construction was burned during the revolt against the Doge Pietro Candiano IV. The successor of Doge Pietro Candiano IV, Doge Domenico Contarini reconstructed the Basilica and the restoration was completed in 1071. In this new construction, the influence of Greek architecture is prominent and the five domes of the construction is the evidence of that.

Why Choose Thrillophilia