Venice, Piazza San Marco

I'll admit it. I'm biased. I think this is the greatest public space in the world. This is the Piazza San Marco, which joins, on the far side of the Campanile, to the Piazetta San Marco, making this a somewhat unusual L-shaped square.

What may not be evident from the photograph is that the square is tapered. The photographer is standing at the narrow end. The taper is moderate, and thus not evident in the complex perspective of the photograph.

The Campanile is a huge tower - it makes the cathedral look small, which it is not. The Doge's Palace is visible through the opening between the Campanile and the large building on the right. This is thus both the civic and the ecclesiastical center of Venice.

It is odd to see so few people in a daylight photograph of the Piazza - today this square is always busy during daylight hours. Some twelve million tourists a year come to Venice, by far the most of any city in Italy, and nearly all of them come to the Piazza, so it's usually bustling, except after ten in the evening - Venice seems to go to bed early.

There are three sidewalk cafés in the Piazza, two on the left and one on the right. They've been here since practically forever. One of them was frequented by Napoleon's people during his brief occupation of the city, and real Venetians still won't patronize it today, nearly 200 years after the event.

Please Wait
City Design Home

Text ©2001-2002 J.Crawford