Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco
4.5
Points of Interest & LandmarksHistoric Walking Areas
About
It is said that Napoleon called San Marco "the drawing room of Europe." And it is a breathtakingly beautiful place. But the square has long been a lure for massive numbers of pigeons, drawn by the massive numbers of tourists who readily feed them. While the tourists happily post for photos amid the flock, there are concerns that the birds' presence--and what they leave behind--will damage the centuries old architecture and art work.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area

Neighborhood: San Marco
The most famous sestiere (district) in Venice has one of the world's most famous squares, St. Mark's (Piazza San Marco). Anchored on one end by the basilica, clustered around it are restaurants, museums, shops, orchestras playing in the square, pigeons, the grand pink Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the soaring campanile bell tower, an astrological clock tower, plus gorgeous cafes and restaurants like Florian and Quadri. Piazza San Marco is beloved by Venetians themselves. They book a table anytime, which offers a buffer from the fray. This grand outdoor drawing room attracts Venetians for a stroll too, especially late in the afternoon when the hoards of daytrippers thin out. It's simply a grand place to meet.

See what travelers are saying

  • Quiet_n_Warm
    Bristol, United Kingdom158 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Busy? Yes but worth the visit
    Everyone will say it’s too touristy, there are too many people, it’s a tourist trap. Go with your eyes open and marvel in the splendour and majesty of the Basilica, Doges Palace and the square itself. There is so much to see and do there. Be warned, you’ll be up on your feet a lot so be prepared to sit down, rest and eat. Venice is small enough to enable you to stroll a little and find somewhere else to eat if yon want yo avoid San Marco prices. Found the square very clean and given it was a warm day, not overcrowded, but busy…yes.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 1, 2023
  • Wikumj
    Bromley, United Kingdom393 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The main square in Venice
    The main square in Venice surrounded by various attractions (the Basilica, the tower, the Doge's palace, and other various small museums. The cafes on the square are obviously expensive and you can find better value just off the square, but you're paying for the atmosphere. Worth also coming here after dark to enjoy a different atmosphere with less crowds, and hear wonderful musicians playing at the cafes.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 6, 2023
  • Menekag
    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam1,926 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Busy but lovely
    It is one of the busiest piazzas in Italy yet beautiful and interesting. There are cafes scattered around the piazza where you can have a spritzer and crowd watch but the drinks and coffees are completely overpriced. Piazza has historic significance with the basilica and Doges palace around it.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 18, 2023
  • Ken T
    Glen Oaks, New York902 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely piazza in Venice
    This square is big, and full of history, definitely is a must when you are visiting Venice. It is near the end of the water taxi stop and takes about 45 minutes from the train station stop. However, it was worth the wait and the square is beautiful with shops and restaurants.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written September 29, 2023
  • T K
    Limerick, Ireland418 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The heartbeat of Venice
    There's so much to see and do around here and a Venice card is the best way to experience it. What a great atmosphere and the best way to feel the very pulse of Venice is definitely around this area. You could easily spend hours around here day or night.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 4, 2023
  • johnny wallman
    Lake District, United Kingdom58 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Well worth a visit
    Packed even at the end of October but absolutely beautiful and well worth a visit. The information office is less than helpful and more interested in selling you a city map but scattered about are tourist helpers who really are helpful. The cafes, restaurants and souvenir stands around the square are expensive and over priced but a two minute walk off the square there are more sensible priced shops and cafes. Beware of low flying pigeons. Well worth a visit even without entering any of the attractions.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written October 21, 2023
  • Ramona T
    Szombathely, Hungary143 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    very nice
    The square is under reconstruction, hopefully they ill finish it soon. The composition of the square is fantastic. The surrounding buildings create a specific athmosphere. Pigeons are gone, now we have gulls, beware of your food. We had aqua alta, so could experience the specialty of Venice: walking on water :D :D
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 3, 2023
  • Volatile75
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia129 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Landmark of Venice
    Sunday it was full of people but on weekdays, it was pretty empty towards end of day. Nice place for pictures, St Mark Bacilica was glorious, EU3 to enter, no queue at all. Christmas tree is up here as well.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written November 30, 2023
  • Oelsen H
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands10 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Saint Marks is amazing
    Yo, so St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) in Venice is legit famous for being drop-dead gorgeous, packed with history, and just buzzing with life. The St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace, both throwing vibes from the square, are like the main event in the architectural beauty pageant. You've got this sick atmosphere going on with live tunes, chill cafes, and pigeons doing their thing – it's like a whole vibe. But real talk, 'cause it's such a hot spot, it can get mega-crowded, especially when the tourist hustle is at its peak. That can mess with the chill vibe for some folks. But, like, overall, it's a must-hit spot in Venice. The architecture is on point, and it's basically the cultural HQ of the city. If you're around, you gotta check it out – it's the real deal.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written December 20, 2023
  • John P
    Melbourne, Australia1,165 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    As good as it gets!
    We visited late December to avoid summer crowds. Gorgeous winter weather meant our gamble payed off but it was still crowded though far from summer numbers I experienced before! Renting an apartment close by allowed us to visit early morning, to watch the sun rise, gorgeous, late evening to watch the light fade and enjoy reflected street lights, gorgeous, as well as through the day to savour the cathedral and the Doge’s Palace. You could not get bored here, stupendous!
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written December 31, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

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turch2014
Vancouver, Canada55 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
If you really want to appreciate this Piazza set your alarm for 5:30 or 6AM
and wander down there with a coffee. There are no crowds then and you
can enjoy the magnificence of the architecture. Anytime after 0830 the crowds start appearing and it is hard to even walk through the Piazza.

The same goes for taking a very early Vaparetto boat - there is no one in
the early hours at the Rialto Bridge - hop off and get a photo of just you
on the bridge. You won't be able to even get near the edge as the day moves on.
Written March 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jsteelem
Belfast, UK555 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
Beautiful architecture around the square like the Basilica,Doge,s Palace,Bell Tower and others but long queues for entry into these,not pleasant in hot July sunshine. If you sit on steps you will be ushered off by ones patrolling the square.so if you want to rest the only places are the expensive restaurants.Be careful here as a fee will be added to you bill for the music provided as if 17 euros is not enough for a cup of coffee. Eat in side sreets at a more reasonable price and even better little sandwich bars selling delicious take away ones for a few euros. If ever thinking of returning it would Autumn time,less crowded no queueing unlike the hot and overcrowded high season.
Written August 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris H
London, United Kingdom24 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
First of all, we did not have enough time for everything. Walking around means lots up and down over the many, many bridges, and my wife struggled.
That said, by walking around on our own, we saw loads and went into several Churches and temporary displays which we found down side alleys. These were mostly free and beautiful, interesting, and worth the walk. Note where the sun is though, as keeping it behind, or in front of us kept us at least in the right general direction. It is so easy to get turned around, and constantly referring to the map is not for us. If anywhere, this is the place to just wander around and see what you can see.
Getting into the Doges Palace, Tower or Basillica must be planned as the opening hours are short on some days, big queues if you don't have an express ticket, and get expensive.
The Cafe Florian was a great place to have a drink and relax and watch the Piazza. Weddings and people dressed up, people watching. All great, but be prepared for the eye watering bill where they even add 6-Euros each for listening to the band play, despite the already high prices.
So, my advice, don't book a tour unless that is your thing. Leave plenty of time to do your own thing and don't be afraid to leave the main area and explore.
Written October 22, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Phil Larkin
37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
OK, so it is going to be busy but some things you have to do! We think that the crowds are less than in previous years, probably due to COVID restrictions. So, although it was busy, it was very manageable.
Actually, my review is for gentleman( and ladies) of a certain age who may get caught short and need the loo. We could not find it even though there are many public bathrooms throughout Venice and all serviced. It is situated just off the Piazza San Marco towards the exit at Museum Correr, to the left and set back behnd the place where all the guided tours begin. It is usually between 50 cents and 2 euros depending which one you use but here it is €1.50. Perfectly usable and clean. Generally impressed given the numbers of people passing through and experiences in other cities. Well done, Venice!
Written April 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert O
Rotterdam, The Netherlands5,514 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
For centuries the center of Venice, 'la piazza' as the Venetians call it, is now on the to-do list of thousands of tourists who flock to the square on a daily basis. New rules ensure that most people do not stay for a long time. It is not longer allowed to sit on steps, stairs or even the pavement. Guards are ensuring the rules are enforced. The only alternative is to move on or to get a seat on one of the (expensive) restaurant terraces. Another big difference with the past is there are no pigeons anymore, a big improvement.

It takes some time to discern the different styles of the historic buildings that line the square. The basilica completed in 1092 stands out, as well as the 98m high clocktower (a 1912 reconstruction of the original one). The administrative buildings are perhaps less interesting, but together they give the square its impressive stature. Personally I liked the gothic style Porta della Carta (1443) with its beautiful decorations.

Overall a captivating experience, but take your time and do some prep work before visiting.
Written September 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jeffrey M
Williamsburg, VA337 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019
Okay. It is a big, sunny plaza of paving stones (and some tidal issues) surrounded by piles of stone (in the form of palaces, cathedrals, and commercial buildings. So, how exciting is this? Very exciting if you think about Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, the modern university, and opera. This is and exemplifies a major stop along the road to a concept as large as "modern civilization."

Depending on the sun, seriously consider under one of the many umbrellas and pay more than you should for a drink while a band plays nearby.
Written February 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GAN L
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia10,656 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
The square is dominated at its eastern end by St Mark's basilica. The west facade of the basilica consists of great arches and marble decoration , Romanesque carvings round the central doorway. Piazzetta San Giovanni XXIII is an open space on the north side of the basilica. The neo- classic building on the east side adjoining the Basilica is the Palazzo Patriarcale ,the seat of the Patriarch of Venice. Beyond that is the Clock Tower, above a high archway where the street Merceria leads through shopping streets to the Rialto, the commercial and financial centre. To the right of the clock tower is the closed church of San Basso. To the left is the long arcade along the north side of the Piazza, the buildings on this side are known as the Procuratie Vecchie, formerly homes and offices of high state officers in the days of the republic of Venice. Nowadays the arcade is lined with shops and restaurants at the ground level with offices above. Turning left at the end , the arcade continues along the west end of the Piazza to the entrance of the Museo Correr. Turning lef again, the arcade continues down the south side of the Piazza. The buildings on this side are the new procuracies. The ground floor has shops and also the famous cafe, Caffe Florian. Opposite to this, standing free in the Piazza is the Campanile of St Mark's basilica. Adjacent to the Campanile , facing towards the church is the elegant small building, Loggetta del Sansovino, and used as a lobby by patricians waiting to go into a meeting of the Great Council in the Doge's Palace. Across the Piazza in front of the church are three large mast like flagpoles with bronze bases decorated in high relief. The Venetian flag of St Mark flies together with the Italian flag.
Written February 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PortRowNYC
New York City, NY151 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
If you visit Venice, you will visit here: there's no two ways about it. And well you should! We passed through it at least once a day and often two or more times (our visit was only a little over two days). Our first night, a choir was singing not far from the Basilica and while the music was a little cheesy (think Up with People in the US—although we spoke to some of the singers afterward and they were all from Italy), it was still a wonderful experience. They have other public art projects there: we looked online hoping there would be others but they were not during our visit. We didn't visit any shops (they are very tourist-centric, understandably) but unlike Times Square in NYC, it didn't feel like a place to be avoided at all costs (late November almost certainly helped).
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brita S
Aberdeen, NJ134 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
San Marco's plaza is definitively a tourist trap, but one that has to be seen. We like it best at night, when the bands at the cafes play music. Be aware of buying anything here though - it's utterly expensive. You can listen to the music without buying that 11 Euro espresso!
During the day it's quite crowded, but evening is not so bad, as many tourists are day tourists only and leave in the evening.
Written August 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mahavir p
London, UK9 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
The Piazza is truly a magical place. Sitting there, you can feel a sense of history. We went at an off peak time so there were not too many people. Definitely worth visiting. Go there, sit an have a coffee, soak in the atmosphere!
Written January 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Piazza San Marco - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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