The splendour of the Serenissima

Since the founding of the Republic of Venice, Piazza San Marco has been the stage for some of the greatest activities in the city, from economic dealings to Carnival dances. Here stand what were once the two centres of earthly and spiritual power: the Ducal Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica. The Ducal Palace, the historic seat of the government of the Serenissima (one of the names for Venice), witnessed all the trade, more or less legal, in the city, and it was from here that the Doge kept control over the city and where he met his citizens. Saint Mark’s Basilica, today the city cathedral, was once the Ducal Chapel and the symbol of the Republic’s magnificence.