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The Facade of St. Marks Cathedral, Venice, Italy

St. Marks Cathedral and PiazzaView All Sizes

JOURNAL : May 22, 2002

Saint Mark’s Cathedral and Piazza

Venice > Italy

Series Saint Mark’s Cathedral and Piazza

We came upon St. Mark's Square quite suddenly as we were tooling around town. People and pigeons milled about, while the cathedral and tower stood boldly beyond.

Facade of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Venice

Facade of St. MarkView All Sizes

St. Mark’s Basilica and Campanile in St. Mark’s Sqaure, Venice

St. Mark’s Plaza & Bell TowerView All Sizes

The Bell Tower

We cruised around the square and then headed up to the top of the bell tower to check out the view. You can see a three-photo composition at the top of the main Venice page.

The Curious Façade of St. Mark's Cathedral

Nobody quite knows who designed Saint Mark's Basilica, but the unique fusion of Oriental and Occidental in the facade illustrates the history of Venetian trade in a deliciously singular manner.

Saint Mark's is a Christian church begun in 878 A.D. when the first Islamic Empire was in a state of rapid expansion, and Venetian culture absorbed the influence. The minaret-shaped designs mimic mosques in the Middle East, but the spires and decoration more closely resemble the pagodas of Southeast Asia. Symbology of the ornamentation is classic Christian. It's quite remarkable to see a building that merges aspects of three different religious systems into one with remarkable cohesion.

The Facade of St. Marks Cathedral, Venice, Italy

Facade of St. Marks CathedralView All Sizes

Taken as a whole, St Mark's Cathedral is a mish-mash of styles, and while the edifice is impressive in its way, the rest of the exterior is rather businesslike. From the bell tower the cathedral roof gives it the appearances of a warehouse with some domes set on top, and a fancy façade attached almost as an afterthought.

St. Marks Cathedral from the Campanile

St. Marks Cathedral, VeniceView All Sizes

Map of St Marks Square

Lunch in the Plaza

Lunch in the Plaza

The Piazza is also a great place to have lunch, hang out, or feed the pigeons. Restaurants, boutiques, libraries, museums and hotels look out upon the spacious plaza from all directions and around the corner.

Venice from the Campanile over St. Marks Square

Looking East over VeniceView All Sizes

Islands of Venice from the Campanile over St. Marks Square

Islands of VeniceView All Sizes

Views of Venice

From the bell tower is an excellent view of the city and canals and islands to the horizon. Check out the panorama on the Walking Around Venice page. At the shore that looks across to La Giudecca, numerous gondolas and vaporettos are available to whisk the traveler to anywhere among the islands.

Venice is such an endearing chunk of civilization. On our extensive walks we only covered a small percentage of the area. Next time we might rent a boat for exploration of the islands, or take an excursion to the beach at Lido de Venezia. Or perhaps a more thorough exploration of the art shops and restaurants Venice has to offer...

The Facade of St. Marks Cathedral, Venice, Italy

About this day

Saint Mark’s Cathedral and Piazza

May 22, 2002

Venice > Italy

Tags   Walkabout · Architecture

Venice Series | All Italy Locations

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