Discover the largest and most important square in Venice, St Mark’s Square! As the setting for countless films, books, and television series, the bustling square is one of the most recognizable places in Europe. Famous for its basilica, the relics of Saint Mark, and its hungry pigeons, St. Mark’s Square is a must-visit for anyone headed to the floating city. Stroll round, check out the Doge’s Palace, or simply listen to the orchestra that plays every evening. The square boasts some of the main Venice attractions like the St. Mark's Basilica, St. Mark's Belltower, the Doge's Palace, and St. Mark's Clock tower. Book Venice tours on isango! that cover the most iconic attractions and choose from a range of top-rated tours and packages.
Goodfeathers. Avoid the organized team of scam artists selling birdseed. They will try to charge you five dollars a head. If you really want to feed the pigeons, buy something before you arrive at St. Mark’s Square. Pigeons will eat anything!
Acqua Alta. If you find yourself in Venice during the winter, you’re likely to experience flooding. It usually lasts for only a few hours; so, you can simply wait it out in your hotel if you like.
Early bird special. The square is always crowded. If you want to experience the piazza while its quiet and empty, arrive early in the morning before the day trippers arrive.
Good to know
Best time to visit
Picking the best time for a visit requires a decision about what’s most important to you. If its weather, then arrive in the spring. If swarms of people bother you, arrive in autumn. Bring a wide variety of clothing because the weather can vary significantly throughout the day during the fall. Summer brings oppressive heat, inflated prices, and crowds.
From Santa Lucia Railway Station, the best way to get to the square is by Water Bus. You can take either Line 1 or 2. Line 1 takes about 45 minutes and 15 stops to reach. Water busses arrive about 5 times an hour. Line 2 takes 30 minutes and includes 5 stops. Make sure the Line 2 water bus is headed down the Grand Canal by asking the pilot. Another option is walking from the train station to St. Mark’s Square. It takes over an hour; but, it provides a great first impression of Venice, assuming you are not burdened with excess luggage.
Money saving tips
On a budget? Don’t sweat it! You can save a substantial chunk of change by skipping a trip to the top of St. Mark’s Campanile. Yes, the view is quite nice. But, if you plan to enter the Basilica, you can get some of the best views at no additional charge. Once inside, just head upstairs and exit through the wooden door for a beautiful rooftop vista!
Did you know?
Piazza San Marco is the only true piazza in Venice. All of the other open spaces are referred to as campi, except Piazzetta San Marco and Piazzale Roma.
Feeding birdseed to the pigeons at St. Mark’s Square carries a fine. As it turns out, all those pigeon droppings are bad for the mosaics. Plus, the pigeons eat the marble for its calcium carbonate content.
It’s widely believed that Napoleon once called the iconic square the Drawing Room of Europe. But, such claims have yet to be substantiated.
In the late 820s, the stolen relics of St. Mark first appeared in Venice. The Venetians, as well as the Doge, quickly adopted St. Mark as their new patron saint.