Tag-Archive for » Palazzo Ducale «


It all began for the Piazza as early as the 9th century when it was a much smaller space than it is today. In 1177, changes and additions were made to the square before the meeting of Pope Alexander III and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Additional buildings were added in 1640 and the newest buildings in 1810 were specially made at the request of Napoleon. Although named as a square, according to its shape this square is actually a trapezoid and the length of the Piazza is 175 meters.

There is no shortage of archaeological delights in Venice and there is plenty to see at Piazza San Marco. From this unique plaza, one may tour the St. Mark’s basilica that is a famous cathedral adorned with domes and attractive mosaics. One may visit the Palazzo Ducale di Venezia which is a gothic palace that was the place of residence of the Doge of Venice. Among other special features and attractions, one may also view the Torre dell’Orologico, the Clock Tower that has become a part of Venetian culture as it has been striking the hour for over 500 years.

The Piazza San Marco has always been known as a place of central importance to the people of Venice. This is rather like an extraordinary museum out in the open air, filled with enchantment and architectural masterpieces. It is reported that Napoleon referred to the Piazza San Marco as the “finest drawing room in Europe”. Today, the Piazza continues to attract guests and has proved to be a very popular venue for tourists.

The Piazza hosts cafes and souvenir shops even bags of food for the pigeons can be purchased. It is probably true that a majority if not all of the tourists visiting Venice have their photographs taken with pigeons in the background at the Piazza San Marco.

Hotel accommodation can be found within walking distance of the Piazza San Marco. It probably should be noted that the price of vacation rooms close to the Pizza itself will be higher than accommodation that is situated a bit further away in a quieter area. Various levels of holiday accommodation may be found west of the Piazza, east of the Piazza, north of the Piazza and along the waterfront.

Many people would recommend that the best time to visit the Piazza San Marco is during the early evening. At this time, the square is lit up and [takes on] a lively, unique and even romantic atmosphere. Musicians begin to play and sometimes people begin to dance. This special square seems to have a character and personality all of its own.

Today the Piazza San Marco continues to be a very popular gathering place in Italy. This site hosts historical buildings steeped in tradition and culture, indoor and outdoor cafes, buildings of architectural interest, stones, monuments, artistic structures, traders, pigeons, people, bustle and perhaps best of all no cars.


The melancholic air of the place is in part a product of the discrepancy between the grandeur of its history and what the city has become. In the heyday of the Venetian Republic, some 200,000 people lived in Venice, not far short of three times its present population. Merchants from Germany, Greece, Turkey and a host of other countries maintained warehouses here; transactions in the banks and bazaars of the Rialto dictated the value of commodities all over the continent; in the dockyards of the Arsenale the workforce was so vast that a warship could be built and fitted out in a single day; and the Piazza San Marco was perpetually thronged with people here to set up business deals or report to the Republic’s government. Nowadays it’s no longer a living metropolis but rather the embodiment of a fabulous past, dependent for its survival largely on the people who come to marvel at its relics.

The monuments which draw the largest crowds are the Basilica di San Marco – the mausoleum of the city’s patron saint – and the Palazzo Ducale – the home of the doge and all the governing councils. Certainly these are the most dramatic structures in the city: the first a mosaic-clad emblem of Venice’s Byzantine origins, the second perhaps the finest of all secular Gothic buildings. Every parish rewards exploration, though – a roll-call of the churches worth visiting would feature over fifty names, and a list of the important paintings and sculptures they contain would be twice as long. Two of the distinctively Venetian institutions known as the Scuole retain some of the outstanding examples of Italian Renaissance art – the Scuola di San Rocco , with its dozens of pictures by Tintoretto, and the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni , decorated with a gorgeous sequence by Carpaccio.

The historic centre of Venice is made up of 118 islands, most of which began life as a micro-community, each with a parish church or two, and a square for public meetings. Though many Venetians maintain a strong attachment to their particular part of the city, the autonomy of these parishes has been eroded since the days when traffic between them moved by water. Some 400 bridges now tie the islands together, forming an amalgamation that’s divided into six large administrative districts known as sestieri, three on each side of the Canal Grande.

The sestiere of San Marco is the zone where the majority of the essential sights are clustered, and is accordingly the most expensive and most crowded district of the city. On the east it’s bordered by Castello , and on the north by Cannaregio – both of which become more residential, and poorer and quieter, the further you go from San Marco. On the other bank the largest of the sestieri is Dorsoduro , which stretches from the fashionable quarter at the tip of the Canal Grande, south of the Accademia gallery, to the docks in the west. Santa Croce , named after a now demolished church, roughly follows the curve of the Canal Grande from Piazzale Roma to a point just short of the Rialto, where it joins the commercially most active of the districts on this bank – San Polo .

To the uninitiated, the boundaries of the sestieri can seem utterly perplexing, and they are of little use as a means of structuring a guide. So, although in most instances this guide uses the name of a sestiere to indicate broadly which zone of the city we’re in, the boundaries of our sections have been chosen for their practicality and do not, except in the case of San Marco, follow the city’s official divisions. Most of the sestiere of Santa Croce, for example, is covered in the San Polo section, with the remnant covered in Dorsoduro, as the sestiere has no focal point for the visitor and very few sights


Venice hotels, The Saturnia

Historic and traditional Venetian four stars hotel run by the same family since 1908, the Hotel Saturnia & International is housed

in a palace built in the 14th century, whose most illustrious member, Vettor Pisani ( 1324 – 1380 ) was appointed Admiral of the powerful Republic of Venice during the conflicts with the Genoese fleet over who should control merchant trading in the Mediterranean sea.

Located in the heart of Venice, on Via XXII Marzo, one of the widest and elegant in the city, the hotel is only 250 meters from Saint Mark’s Square.

With its perfect location, the hotel is the ideal place for a visit in the city’s historical centre.

Saint Mark’s square, the Palazzo Ducale, the Bridge of Sighs, the Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim galleries, and the Scala del Bovolo ( staircase of snails ) are just some of the wonders of Venice that can be enjoyed during a pleasant stroll along the city’s paths.

The hotel’s 93 rooms are all different, with bathroom equipped with hair dryer, mini bar, telephone, internet connection, satellite television with radio, digital combination safe, sprinkler and individually – controlled air conditioning.

After a refreshing night’s sleep, guests can enjoy a rich buffet – style breakfast in the room “ Il Cortile “ or in the typical Venetian courtyard in the summer time.

The concierge and reception service are always available to provide any kind of information or service : reconfirm flights, make reservations for train trips, restaurants, hotels, guided tours or taxis are just some of the services provided in the most efficient fashion, by a courteous, discreet and helpful staff.

Of the same property of the Hotel Saturnia there iis the hotel Ca’ Pisani, the first design hotel in Venice. The Ca’ Pisani is located near the Accademia bridge in a quiet area, its unique decor is made with original pieces of forniture of the 30 and 40s.