Saint Mark’s Square (in Italian: Piazza San Marco) is the only square in Venice, and its main tourist destination, with a permanent abundance of photographers, tourists and pigeons. It is attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte, although most probably it should be done to Alfred de Musset, the authorship of the epithet of le plus élégant salon d’Europe (the most beautiful hall of Europe).
The piazza was begun in the 9th century as a small area in front of the original St. Mark’s Basilica. It was extended to its current shape and size in 1177, when the Batari river, which bordered it to the west, and a port that had isolated the Ducal Palace from the square, were grounded. The restructuring was carried out for the meeting of Pope Alexander III with the Emperor Frederick Barba Ruiva.
The square has always been the center of Venice. It was the place where all the important events of the history of the Republic of Venice took place, and it was the base of the archbishopric since century XIX. It has been the focus of many festivals and is an immensely popular place in Italy.
It was paved at the end of the XIII century with tiles in pattern in spine, with lines that allowed to organize the market and the very frequent ceremonial processions. In 1723 the tiles were replaced by a more complex geometric design, composed of dark volcanic stone with geometric patterns in white stone, in charge of the Venetian architect Andrea Tirali, and this opportunity was used to raise the square in approximately one meter.
In 1890 the pavement was renewed due to the wear following a drawing similar to that of Tirali, but the ovals were eliminated and the western corner was cut to better accommodate the Napoleonic Wing at the end of the square.