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Piazza San Marco, often known in English as St Mark’s Square, is the main public square in Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as la Piazza (“the Square”). A remark usually attributed to Napoleon calls the Piazza San Marco “the drawing room of Europe“.
See the fact file below for more information on the Piazza San Marco or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Piazza San Marco worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The Square is dominated at its eastern end by the great church of St Mark. It is described here by a perambulation starting from the west front of the church (facing the length of the Piazza) and proceeding to the right.
- The history of the Piazza San Marco covers four periods.
- It was constructed in the ninth century as a small square dotted with trees. The square was laid out in front of the original St Mark’s Basilica, at the time a small chapel which was part of the Doge’s Palace.
- The square was separated from the palace by a small canal, the Rio Batario. Already a central gathering place for Venetians, the piazza was enlarged in 1174 after the canal and an adjoining dock were filled in.
- The square was paved with bricks in 1267 in a herringbone pattern. In 1735 the bricks were replaced with natural stone and laid in a more complicated pattern according to a design by architect Andrea Tirali. The design marked where merchants could set up their stalls.
- The Piazza San Marco is the only square in Venice which is called a Piazza. It is shaped as a trapezium and is 176 meters long and between 62 and 82 meters wide.
- The small square with the 2 lions next to the basilica is called the Piazzetta dei Leoncini. The one with the 2 columns in front of the lagoon is the Piazzetta San Marco. The other 135 smaller public squares in Venice, besides the Piazzale Roma, are called Campo.
- The Piazza was paved in the late 12th century with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern. Bands of light-colored stone ran parallel to the long axis of the main piazza.
- In 1723, the bricks were replaced with a more complex geometric pavement design laid out by Venetian architect Andrea Tirali.
- The pattern was used to regulate market stalls, or to recall their former presence in the square.
- The overall alignment of the pavement pattern serves to visually lengthen the long axis and reinforce the position of the Basilica at its head. This arrangement mirrors the interior relationship of the nave to the altar in the cathedral.
- As part of the design, the level of the piazza was raised by approximately one meter to mitigate flooding and allow more room for the internal drains to carry water to the Grand Canal.
- In 1890, the pavement was renewed “due to wear and tear”. The new work closely followed Tirali’s design, but eliminated the oval shapes and cut off the west edge of the pattern to accommodate the Napoleonic wing at that end of the Piazza.
- The Piazza San Marco is not far above sea level and is quick to flood during the “high water” from storm surges from heavy rain. Water pouring into the drains in the Piazza runs directly into the Grand Canal. This normally works well but has the reverse effect when the sea is high, with water from the lagoon surging up into the Square.
PIAZZA AND PIAZZETTA
- There are aspects of the church which are so much a part of the Piazza that they must be mentioned here, including the whole west facade with its great arches and marble decoration.
- The Piazzetta dei Leoncini is an open space on the north side of the church named after the two marble lions, but now officially called the Piazzetta San Giovanni XXIII.
- Beyond that is the Clock Tower, completed in 1499, above a high archway where the street known as the Merceria leads through shopping streets to the Rialto, the commercial and financial centre.
- The Piazzetta di San Marco is, strictly speaking, not part of the Piazza but an adjoining open space connecting the south side of the Piazza to the waterway of the lagoon. The Piazzetta is between the Doge’s Palace on the east and Jacopo Sansovino’s Biblioteca (Library) which holds the Biblioteca Marciana on the west.
- At the corner near the campanile, the (west) side is occupied entirely by the Biblioteca (Library) designed by Jacopo Sansovino to hold the Biblioteca Marciana (library of St Mark).
Piazza San Marco Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Piazza San Marco across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Piazza San Marco worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Piazza San Marco, often known in English as St Mark’s Square, which is the main public square in Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as la Piazza (“the Square”). A remark usually attributed to Napoleon calls the Piazza San Marco “the drawing room of Europe”.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy Facts
- The Square
- Periods of History
- True or False?
- Words to Know
- Piazza Vs Piazzetta
- Piazza Numbers
- Pic on a Pin
- Let Me Tour
- My Clock Progress
- Piazza Essay
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Link will appear as Piazza San Marco Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 15, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.