First some orientation. The Piazza San Marco is behind you and on the right. The photographer is probably standing on the porch of the Campanile, which is about a meter above the level of the square. The Doge's Palace is on your left.
This is the only non-enclosed opening in the Piazza/Piazetta complex. Notice, though, that the church of San Giorgio Maggiore supplies the missing enclosure, at least in part. I think that the presence of water adjacent to the Piazetta makes the space even more exciting, especially with the heavy water traffic gliding across the ever-changing waters of the lagoon.
The fourth sidewalk café is on the right.
When I go to Venice, I usually arrive by air and take the boat from the airport to the landing just a ways to the right along the waterfront. About the time I walk into the Piazetta, an astonishing feeling of peace descends on me. Suddenly I'm away from the noise of the boats, and all I can hear is people talking, the coo of the pigeons, and the tinkle of live music from one or another of the cafés. For almost all of the rest of my stay, this sensation will be unbroken - Venice is that free of mechanical noise. People are careful to put air conditioners on the roof (with few exceptions), and restaurant vent hoods are not allowed to disturb the peace. Only the water taxis, passenger ferries, and freight boats disturb this peace with any regularity, and only along certain routes. There is the odd bit of construction equipment, and for the rest, it's human sounds. All day long.
Please forgive me for waxing so enthusiastic about my favorite city.
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