San Marco Square, located in the center of Venice in front of the cathedral of the same name, can be rightly considered as one of the most beautiful squares in the world. According to the Venetians, it is also the most photographed place in the world. And indeed, you could be tired of the concentration of tourists on the St. Mark Square but for the surprising energy of this place.
The square is divided in two parts. A smaller part of the square, called Piazetta, opens on the embankment between the Doge`s Palace and the Campanile. On the embankment there are two pillars topped with statues. On one of them you can see the winged lion of St. Mark, and on the other – the statue of St. Theodore who was the patron of Venice before St. Mark.
The main part of the St. Mark`s Square is called simply Piazza, that is, simply «Square». It has the shape of an irregular rectangle. At the St. Mark`s Cathedral its width is 82 meters, and at the far end near the Ala Napoleonica - only 56 meters. There are always many doves on the St. Mark`s Square and tourists feed them with pleasure.
Buildings with baroque columns are on three sides of the San Marco Square. The famous Clock Tower with the Lion is to the right of the cathedral. Next to it you can see the long colonnade of the building of the Old Procuracies, the seat of the government of Venice. The Old Procuracies were built in 1480. But 50 years later, as the amount of work grew, they had to extend the government offices and there were built the similar building of the New Procuracies opposite the Old Procuracies.
Napoleon completed the appearance of the San Marco Square in 1810. There was a church between the Old and New Procuracies, but Napoleon decided to make the appearance of the square more harmonic and between the Procuracies there appeared the Ala Napoleonica (the wing of Napoleon) housing a ball room and his personal chambers.
Today the buildings of the Old and New Procuracies on the San Marco Square are occupied by museums, as well as the famous cafés Florian and Quadri. Café Florian was opened there in 1720 and is the oldest one in Italy.