Piazza of San Marco, Venice, Italy


This photochrome print shows the main square of Venice as it appeared in the last decade of the 19th century. Baedeker’s Italy: Handbook for Travellers (1895) characterized the Piazza of St. Mark as “the grand focus of attraction at Venice. On summer-evenings all who desire to enjoy the fresh air congregate here. The scene is liveliest when the military band plays …. By moonlight the piazza is strikingly impressive. Indeed, there is, perhaps, no more fascinating spot in Europe than this huge open-air drawing room.” St. Mark’s Basilica, seen at the end of the square, is a Byzantine structure that was completed around 1050, by an unknown architect. It is said to contain the bones of Saint Mark, which were brought to Venice from Alexandria by the Venetians in 829. The 98.6-meter campanile, or bell tower, was completed in 1514. A few years after this photograph was taken, in 1902, the tower collapsed, but it was rebuilt in 1912.

Last updated: September 29, 2014