Piazza San Marco, is the principal public square of Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as “the Piazza”. The Piazzetta (the “little Piazza”) is an extension of the Piazza towards the lagoon in its south east corner.
Napoleon is said to have called the Piazza San Marco “the drawing room of Europe”. It is one of the few great urban spaces in Europe where human voices prevail over the sounds of motorized traffic.
The Piazza is dominated at its eastern end by the great Church of Saint Mark. It is described here by a perambulation starting from the west front of the church (facing the length of the Piazza) and proceeding to the right.
The church is described in the article Saint Mark’s Basilica, but there are aspects of it which are so much a part of the Piazza that they must be mentioned here, including the whole of the west facade with its great arches and marble decoration, the Romanesque carvings round the central doorway and, above all, the four horses which preside over the whole piazza and are such potent symbols of the pride and power of Venice that the Genoese in 1379 said that there could be no peace between the two cities until these horses had been bridled and, four hundred years later, Napoleon, after he had conquered Venice, had them taken down and shipped to Paris.
Photo Credit: Mikael