This is the symbol of the city’s public life. It is the only ‘piazza’ in Venice, the others are called ‘campo’. A long series of modifications have brought the piazza to what it is now – a rectangular public meeting place with the Basilica at one end and an isolated bell tower, the highest in Venice, to its left.
The northern part of the piazza is whre the old public prosecutor’s buildings
are. It is a long building begun in the 12th century and modified from 1514 on. On it’s east side is the Clock Tower
built between 1496 and 1499 by Mauro Codussi. On the southern side of the piazza are the new public prosecutor’s buildings
, begun in 1582 by Vincenzo Scamozzi and finished towards the middle of the 17th century by Baldassare Longhena. Under the square’s porticos is the famous Caffè Florian
which was restructured in the 1800s. It is one of the oldest and most famous cafès in Venice.
The square opens onto the lagoon with the Ducal
on one side and the Sansoviniana Library
on the other. From the
square one can see the island of St Giorgio. There are two monolithic
columns guarding the view. They were erected in the 12th century and
had a platform between them for public executions.