5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SAINT MARK’S SQUARE
Saint Mark’s Square is probably one of the most beautiful square in the world and has a millennial story.
It has always been the centre of greatest events and the social and political centre of Venice.
It’s the only public square of Venice: except for it, all the other spaces in city are calli and campielli.
If you look at the Square from a different point of view, you’ll discover some interesting details.
5 things to know about Saint Mark’s Square.
In Saint Mark’s Square, in front of the Basilica of St. Mark, there are 3 large mast-like flagpoles.
Nobody usually pays attention to them, but they have always been there, and were painted by each artist who depicted the Square.
The flag of the Republic of Venice, the Italian flag and the European flag fly from them.
Actually, the flagpoles are the symbols of the reigns conquered by the Serenissima: Cyprus, Candia (Crete) and Morea (the Peloponnese peninsula).
READ ALSO: The Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice.
The territories conquered by Venice were celebrated in Piazza San Marco and were:
Cyprus was ruled by the Republic of Venice from 1489 to 1571, through the marriage between Caterina Cornaro and James II of Lusignan, king of Cyprus.
Candia was the name of Crete during the island’s period as an overseas colony of the Republic of Venice from 1204 to 1648.
Morea was a colony of the Republic of Venice from 1685 to his fall to the Ottoman Empire in 1715.
Under Napoleon’s domination the flagpoles risked being destroyed, but in the end it was decided to keep them and to change them into the symbols of Freedom, Virtue and Equality.
In Saint Mark’s Square, if you look towards the island of San Giorgio, you can see two large granite columns carrying statues of the two patron saints of Venice, Saint Theodore and Saint Mark.
The columns arrived in Venice from the East in the 12th century and they have been in the Square since 1000 years. Public executions took place between the columns: the convicts were hung by their feet.
READ ALSO: The Doge’s Palace in Venice.
St. Theodore’s column carries on its top the marble statue of the first patron saint of Venice, whereas St. Mark’s column carries the statue of the Lion of Venice, a winged lion looking towards the sea and the colonies of the Serenissima.
There should have been 3 columns, but the missing one got lost along with the ship which was carrying it.