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.
Construction of this church started at the end of the 14th Century by the Dominican friars. It was completed at the beginning of the 15th Century. The remains of 25 Doges are buried here and over these centuries the church has earned the status of a minor basilica. The sepulchral monuments are in the care of the Lombardi family and the monuments of Nicolo Marcello, Pietro Lombardo and Pietro Mocenigo are masterpieces by the same sculptor, whose works occupy the whole left side of the entrance. Also impressive is the monument erected in the honor of Andrea Vendramin, and the paintings by Veronese and Piazzetta. A beautiful juxtaposition of Gothic as well as Renaissance-style architecture, San Zanipolo is a must-visit.
Together, with the Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Palazzo della Ragione is a symbol of the city. Built in 1288, it is called the Salone, or lounge, because of its large room with its wooden vaulted ceiling (destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries), making it the largest undivided hall in the world. The piazza and the bustling daily market are dominated by its loggia. It was a real layman's center in the city. Justice was carried out in the upper rooms, adorned with frescoes of astrological depictions (perhaps even by Giotto). If the sentence was serious, the accused would be taken to one of the local prisons. The building also houses a large wooden horse that Annibale Capodilista had made for a merry-go-round and then donated to the city. On the ground floor, traditional commercial activities took place, as they still do today.
One of the most prominent squares in Padua is Piazza dei Signori. Surrounded by medieval houses on all sides, this rectangular Piazza provides great insight into the Renaissance era architecture. However, the main attraction here is the clock tower, which can be called the crowning jewel of this famous square.
Prato della Valle is a square located in the city of Padova, Italy. Spread over a vast area of 90,000 meters (2,95,276 foot), the oval shaped square is the largest in the country. The square came into existence in the year 1635, when a temporary theater was built here. Thereafter, in the year 1775, the entire area was re-constructed to give the square it's current appearance. The square is beautifully designed with an island of grass in the center, surrounded by a ring of water. A total of 78 statues are placed at each side of the water ring. Today, the square forms an ideal meeting place with large number of people visiting the square to take a walk, skate or study. Festivals too are celebrated at the square.
In the decade of 1470s, Virgin Mary's image Miracoli was credited with performing numerous miracles including bringing back a dead person to life. To commemorate this holy symbol, architect Pietro Lombardo constructed the iconic Santa Maria dei Miracoli church in the 1480s using only marble. Today, it stands as a relic, being one of the first monuments built using Venetian Renaissance architecture. Its stylish marble façade and interiors made from gray, pink and pure white marble draw tourists and locals alike for repeated visits. It is also remarkable for its architectural elements tweaked to give the impression of a spacious church, utilizing pilasters, arches and arcades in a clever manner. Due to its notable interior design, it is also a favored destination for fashionable weddings.
The fine art gallery of Giorgio Mastinu is located in San Marco. It is an ideal place to visit if you are in the neighborhood. It claims to be one the trendiest galleries in town. It stores drawings, painting, documents, photography work, contemporary art designs, illustrated books, etc. of local as well as well known artists. Tucked away in one of the corner of San Marco, it is one of the smallest you will find but very well put up.
Located in Castello, the San Lio Church occupies a good portion of Campo San Lio. The historic place of worship was built somewhere in the 9th Century as a church dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria. It was in 1054 that it was consecrated again, this time dedicated to Saint Leone. Over the years and decades, this very church has been rebuilt and renovated several times; as of today, it sports the furnishings from its make-over in the 18th Century. The inside of the little, charming church is surprisingly plush and comprises of great artworks like the main altarpiece by Palma Vecchio, the fresco of St. James by Titian and the beautiful sculpture Four Evangelists by Pietro Lombardo, to name a few.
Located on Riva del Carbon, Ca' Farsetti is a beautiful palace in Venice. Boasting of a grand architectural design, the palace can be dated back to the 13th Century. It was modified in the 15th Century when two more floors were added to the originally two floored structure of the palace. The palace gained much popularity in 2014 when American actor George Clooney took his marriage vows at this palace.
Fondaco dei Tedeschi is located in the city of Venice, Italy. The building was constructed in the 13th Century and later re-constructed in 1508 inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture. Overlooking the Grand Canal, the palace is a four floored edifice which was built to accommodate German merchants.
Palazzo dei Dieci Savi is a beautiful palace, situated in Venice, Italy. Facing the Canal Grande, the palace can be dated back to the 16th Century. The palace features a statue and a bas-relief from the 1600s. The palace, designed by Antonio Abbondi, is the currently the office for the Water Officers.