Venice – A City Unlike Any Other – Day 2 – Part 3 – San Marco

The Testa d’Oro, or the Golden Head, hangs on the facade of a building, not far from the Ponte di Rialto, in memory of what was the most important spice shop in Venice.  The shop was called “Alla Testa d’Oro”, and since most of the populace could not read, at the time, it was thought that a literal representation of the place’s name would help people recognize its location.  The shop served the people of Venice for over 240 years, finally closing its doors in the 1940’s.

In Campo San Bartolomeo, you will find the Monumento Storico a Carlo Goldoni, or the Historic Monument to Carlo Goldoni.  The monument dates from 1883, and is the work of the Venetian sculptor Antonio Dal Zòtto.  Goldoni, the Italian writer of comedies, was born in Venice, and this is where he began his career as a playwright.

Before long, we arrived in Piazza San Marco, which was packed with people, as it usually is!

This is one of the most popular squares in Italy, if not in all of Europe, and it is lined with museums and other attractions.  Entry into most of the places on the square require reservations, especially during peak tourist season, and tickets may be purchased online in advance.  We did not do any of that, expecting it was all going to be too crowded, and thinking it would be best to wait until we return to the city, at a future date.

The piazza is dominated by the Basilica di San Marco.  It is one of the best examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture, and dates from the 11th century.

On the north side of the piazza, you will find the Torre dell’Orologio, or the Clock Tower, which dates from the 15th century.

The Campanile di San Marco stands 323 feet high, making it the tallest structure in Venice.  The structure that we see today is a reconstruction of the original, which collapsed in 1902.

The Loggetta of the campanile was designed by Jacopo Sansovino, and dates from 1546.

Next to the basilica, you will find the Palazzo Ducale, or the Doge’s Palace.  Again, to avoid having to stand in long lines, buying tickets online, ahead of your visit, is recommended.  We also chose to save this, for our next visit to the city.

In the Piazzetta di San Marco, there stand two large granite columns, which honor the two patron saints of Venice.  The one with the figure of a man at the top pays tribute to San Teodoro, who was the patron saint of the city before San Marco.  The other one, with the winged lion on top, pays tribute to San Marco, the winged creature being his symbol.  The columns were placed here in 1268.  The space in-between the two columns is now usually crowded with people, but in the past, it was the site of public executions.


Next up: We continue exploring, as we spend Easter Sunday walking around this beautiful city!


Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations that may appear.  If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Venice, as well as other Italian destinations.  Grazie!


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