ST. MARK’S SQUARE: THE HEART OF VENICE
Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is the heart of the city.
Here you will find the famous Basilica with its bell tower, Palazzo Ducale (the Doge’s Palace), the Correr Museum and the oldest and most elegant cafés.
During the Serenissima period (i.e. the 1,000-year-old Venetian Republic starting around 700 d.C) it was the political heart of Venice, while Rialto area was its commercial centre.
Nowadays the Square belongs mostly to the crowds and the pidgeons. We tend to walk through what we consider, quoting Napoleon’s words, “the finest drawing room in Europe” early in the morning and in the evening to avoid the crowd.
Venetians do not usually sit out at the famous cafés of the Piazza. It is quite expensive, especially when the orchestras are playing, so we do it only in special occasions. We prefer to stand up at the bar inside for a cocktail or a coffee, where the prices are much lower.
Our suggestion is to go inside the Caffe Florian under the Procuratie Nove and drink a coffee standing, taking a glance at its sumptuous interior. Founded in 1720, this is considered the oldest cafè in Europe.
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