Saint Mark's Square or Piazza San Marco, is the principal public square of Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as la Piazza ("the Square"). All other urban spaces in the city (except the Piazzetta and the Piazzale Roma) are called campi ("fields"). The Piazzetta ("little Piazza/Square") is an extension of the Piazza towards San Marco basin in its south east corner (see plan). The two spaces together form the social, religious and political centre of Venice and are commonly considered together. This article relates to both of them.
A remark usually attributed (though without proof) to Napoleon calls the Piazza San Marco "the drawing room of Europe". The square is dominated at its eastern end by Saint Mark's Basilica. It is described here by a perambulation starting from the west front of the church (facing the length of the piazza) and proceeding to the right.
The Piazza was paved in the late 12th century with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern. Bands of light-colored stone ran parallel to the long axis of the main piazza. These lines were probably used in setting up market stalls and in organizing frequent ceremonial processions.