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Architecture & Environment of St. Mark's Square

Public space is shaped by a number of forces, but primary among them is the use to which the space will be put, the political forces able to make this work, the aesthetic forces prevalent at the time, and changes that might take place through history. The Piazza San Marco and the ULM are public spaces both shaped by prevailing political and aesthetic forces and developed for specific purposes, and Piazza San Marco has been reshaped by history, while the ULM has not been in existence long enough to be so affected by time, though there have been changes in its short life just the same.

The Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark's Square, in Venice is not a strict rectangle but instead opens wider at the basilica end, thus enhancing the perspective and creating the illusion that it is even longer than it is. The square is bordered by the basilica at one end, the Procuratie Vecchie on the left, which was built early in the sixteenth century to serve as offices and residences for the powerful Procurators of San Marco, administrators of the basilica. On the other side of the piazza is the Procuratie Nuove, built half a century later in a more grandiose classical style (Cure 181-182).

St. Mark's Square was called "the drawing room of the world" by Musset, and it has been the scene of some of the most important religious and political activities of the Serenissima as well as the center of Venetian social life for almost a thousand years. At first, the Square was limited to the parvis of the Basilica because of the presence of a canal, the "Rio Batario", which divided the present Square into two parts. The part of the Square that now stands between the Procuratie was once the vegetable garden of the S. Zaccaria monastery, with S. Geminiano church in the middle. The present shape of the Square was established in the XII century for the meeting of Pope Alexander III and the Emperor Barbarossa, and this was done by filling in Rio Batario and...

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Architecture & Environment of St. Mark's Square. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:11, April 21, 2019, from