When you travel to a famous place, there are always must see sights, especially if it is your first time there. Sometimes these places are so important that when you travel back to these certain places, you find that you want to make it there again to see if it is the same as you remembered it the first time you were there. When traveling the Venice, there are two such places, the Rialto Bridge, and San Marco Square. These places are even better if you can make it out to them during the off season, when the crowds are not as large.
It is also interesting to see how much the place has changed over the years. Of course, the same stores and sites are still in place, but the last time I was out here, the square was covered in pigeons. Back then, you could buy bird feed and wait with it in your hands as the birds would crawl all over you to get a bite. The city of Venice was okay with this, because back then, they would add birth control to the bird feed to keep the population of the pigeons down. I found out later, that they stopped doing this shortly after I was there last time, but apparently the plan had worked. These birds were no longer all over the place, and the square was open for people to walk on through.
The pigeons are not the reason that people come to this place though. There are plenty of other great sites lined up on the square that make it worth visiting. The Doge’s palace is one of these sites. It was where the leader of Venice used to live during the height of its economic power. It is a fancy building filled with ancient art from before and up to the Renaissance. It also has the spot where people can peer out the Bridge of Sighs. People being imprisoned in Venice would cross over this bridge when they were being led to jail for the rest of their lives, and the small window would offer their last view of Venice as they made their way to this final spot. It is pretty expensive to get in to see these things, starting at 30 Euro a person, but if you walk behind the building, you can still see the Bridge of Sighs and people peering out of it in a much better mood than the people who gave the bridge its original name.
And of course, there is the Basillica di San Marco which attracts an even larger crowd. Most of this is because it is a lot less expensive to enter being only three Euro a person. This will take you inside the cathedral whose inside is covered in mosaic that is worth a fortune just in stones used for it alone. Add together the intricate patterns that are created with these stones, it makes for a place worth your time to walk around.
For a little extra, you can go up to the top floor and tour the museum. It is filled with precious pieces of art, which the one being the most impressive is the four horses. Replicas of these horses can be seen on top of the basillica, and it used to be the resting place that housed these horses. This is not the end of the story though. The horses are actually older than the cathedral itself. They were found originally in Constantinople and were stolen by the Venetians to be brought to this cathedral and placed there. Nobody is sure how old they are, but they think that they date all the way back to the third century AD.
All in all, it is a great place to visit twice, and both of the times I have come here, I have enjoyed it. San Marco Piazza is a must see place, and I hope that someday you can make it out there to enjoy it as well.