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The only Venetian square to be granted the title of 'piazza', St. Mark's Square, or Piazza San Marco, is the city's political, religious and social center. The square lies at one end of the Grand Canal, surrounded by some of the city's most iconic historic edifices. The Basilica di San Marco is the focal point of the square - a 12th-century, Venetian-Byzantine church highlighted with gold mosaics and lavish carvings. On either side lie the Procuratie Vecchie, stately buildings that once harbored the offices and apartments of the procurators. Two columns erected in honor of the city's patron saints, St. Mark and St. Theodore of Amasea, stand nearby, while the splendid Doge's Palace, the towering Campanile, the Procuratie Nuove, the National Library, and a couple of museums take up the rest of the space around Venice's largest square. The city's history comes together at the awe-inspiring St. Mark's Square.
Murano in the Venetian laguna is famous for its glassware production. Most glass workshops and factories can be visited free of charge, and more glassware can be admired at the Museo Vetrario, which displays the history of Venetian glass-blowing. Nearly all the shops on the island cater to the glass trade. Crowds are leaner during the off-season winter months. Other interesting sites are the Church of Santa Maria e San Donato and Chiesa di San Pietro Martire, both renowned for their impressive architecture and artworks.
Each town has its fair share of shopping areas and streets, Venice is no exception to this. Mercerie is one of its historic and premium shopping area that comprises several streets. Most of the boutiques along this area are high end brands like Gucci, Versace and Cartier. Don't fret, as Mercerie does have stands that sell knick knacks, souvenirs, hand-painted masks, jewellery and so forth. And, if all that shopping tires you, then head to one of the many bars that are located here.