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Pause in Piazza San Marco

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The no. 1 destination for tourists in Venice, Piazza San Marco encompasses three iconic structures, shops, restaurants, and a vast, pigeon-filled plaza.
Pause in Piazza San Marco

To avoid the worst crowding, the best times to visit Piazza San Marco are late in the day or early in the morning.

© Susan Breslow Sardone.
Torre dell'Orologio, the clock tower in Piazza San Marco, is its most recognizable landmark. The medieval Doge's Palace was where the business of Venice was conducted. And Saint Mark's Basilica is the religious heart of Venice.

All is not ancient in Piazza San Marco, however. In the streets surrounding her monuments visitors will find souvenir shops that sell exquisite Murano glass, handmade Venetian masks, and fine leather goods.

Italian brands known the world over, including Prada, Versace, Loro Piana, and Ermenegildo Zegna, have outposts here, as do international fashion and accessories brands such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Chanel.

Note: The shopping area is also thick with sidewalk vendors selling imitation bags. The Italian authorities frown on visitors who patronize them.

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