Robert Langdon, the main character in Inferno, begins his adventure in Florence, Tuscany, continues to Venice, the city known as la serenissima, and finally ends up in Turkey.
Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark’s Square)
The French Emperor Napoleone Bonaparte called Piazza San Marco the finest drawing room in Europe.
This main public square of Venice is simply referred to as “the Piazza”.
The northern and southern wings of the square contain two official buildings: the Old Procurators’ Offices and the New Procurators’ Offices.
The buildings are now comprised of fashionable shops and elegant cafés.
At the end of the Old Procurators’ building near the basilica stands the Torre dell’Orologio (The Clock Tower), a late 14th-century structure where the hours are struck by two Moorish figures.
The Clock Tower rises over the entrance to the Merceria, the main shopping street leading to the Rialto.
Basilica di San Marco (Saint Mark’s Basilica)
The San Marco Basilica (Saint Mark’s Basilica in English) is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice.
It is the most famous of the city’s churches and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. Its original form dates to 829 (consecrated in 832) and served as an ecclesiastical structure to house and honour the remains of St. Mark, which had been translated from Alexandria. St. Mark thereupon replaced St. Theodore as the patron saint of Venice, and his attribute of a winged lion later became the official symbol of the Venetian Republic.
The San Marco Basilica, built beside the Palazzo Ducale, or Doges’ Palace, also served as the doge’s chapel. It did not become the cathedral church of Venice until 1807. The first basilica was burnt in 976 during a popular revolt against the doge Pietro Candiano IV but was restored under his successor, Doge Domenico Contarini.
The basilica in its present form was completed in 1071. The plan is a Greek cross, and the building is surmounted by five domes. Over the centuries, additions of sculpture, mosaics, and ceremonial objects have increased the church’s richness. The famed four bronze horses on the west facade gallery, for example, were brought to Venice during the Fourth Crusade (1204) from Constantinople, where they had been part of a Greco-Roman triumphal sculpture.
The basilica’s interior is decorated throughout with mosaics on gold ground and with many varieties of marble; the floor is of inlaid marble and glass. With respect to its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, the building has been known as Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold) from as early as the 11th century.
Here some guided tours of Venice provided by GetYourGuide:
Casino di Venezia (Venice Casino)
The Casinò di Venezia (Venice Casino) housed in the palace of Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, on the Grand Canal in the sestiere of Cannaregio.
It was founded in 1638 and is the oldest gambling house operating in the world. The architecturally distinguished building was the home of many prominent people through history and is remembered as the place where composer Richard Wagner died.
Currently the palace is home to the Venice Casino and the Wagner Museum, opened in 1995.
Galleria Internazionale di Arte Moderna Cà Pesaro (The International Modern Art Gallery Cà Pesaro)
The International Modern Art Gallery is located in Cà Pesaro, the most important baroque venetian palace, built on the Gran Canal by Baldassarre Longhena. Constructed in the second half of the 17th century by will of the noble and wealthy Pesaro family, the palace later passed into the hands of other prominent families, and was finally purchased by the Bevilacqua family, which granted the palace to the public to serve as the centre of modern art.
It contains important collections of paintings and sculptures from the 1800/1900s, among which are handiwork masterpieces by Klimt, Chagall, Kandinsky, Klee, Matisse and Moor, in addition to a rich range of Italian artists’ works and a graphic cabinets.
The museum is furnished with an important library specializing in art history concerning the 14th to 20th centuries.
Punta della Dogana
Also called Dogana da Mar, Punta della Dogana is a building located in the basin of San Marco that acts as a watershed between the beginning of the Giudecca Canal and the Grand Canal.
Built between 1678 and 1682 as a customs house, it is a low building with a triangular floor plan. The arcade styles reflect its undoing construction throughout different eras. Atop the building are statues of Atlas, built to represent the supremacy of the Republic of Venice. The two slaves hold a golden ball upon which Giuseppe Benoni’s Fortune stands. The 17th-century statue turns in the wind.
It has housed the Contemporary Art Centre operated by the François Pinault Foundation since 2009.
Arsenale di Venezia (Venetian Arsenal)
According to tradition the Arsenal of Venice was founded in 1104; it has been enlarged over the centuries and has come to occupy a large part of the northeastern part of the city.
The term Arsenale is a corruption of the Arab word darsina’a, a house of industry, and for centuries it was the largest in the world with over 16,000 employees at its peak when there were hundreds of galley ships in its basins, ready for war.
On the wall to the right of the entrance is a bust of Dante Alighieri, recalling a visit the poet made to Venice in 1321.
Today, the Arsenale is sometimes used for important trade fairs and exhibitions like the Biennale di Venezia, a major contemporary art exhibition that takes place once every two years, in odd years.
Picture: St Mark’s Square, Venice, Italy by www.travel2italy.com