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Known throughout the world, this square is the heart of Venice and its most symbolic landmark.
St. Mark’s Square, or Piazza San Marco, consists of a central, trapezoid-shaped unit integrated with other areas. Measuring 170 metres in length, it faces directly onto the water and is surrounded by several magnificent stately buildings. Its incalculable scenic beauty makes it one of the most widely-photographed places in the world, the square is crowded with people during most hours of the day. The best thing to do here is to look around and exult, but don’t forget that the square has a number of specific landmark sites, whose interiors can also be visited: the Basilica of San Marco, the Bell Tower, Palazzo Ducale, the Clock Tower and some 18th century cafés, the Florian and the Quadri, to mention the best-known.
A forbidden tradition: feeding the pigeons
If pigeons scare you, you should probably be prepared, as Venice’s main square is crowded not only with tourists but also with birds. For centuries, feeding the pigeons in Piazza San Marco has been a tradition for travelers, and taking a pictures while doing so was a must-do activity. Ernest Hemingway himself made a point to fulfill this task on his Venice checklist, as you can see from the picture on the right. Since 2008, local authorities have forbidden it, since pigeons’ feces are a threat to the squares’ monuments and statues.
Tourists who choose to ignore the law could be fined a fee of 500 euros.
Avoid street sellers offering bird seed as the use is illegal.
1, 2 (San Marco stop)
Main picture: Svida Ⓒ