San Marco’s square in Venice is one of the most visited squares in the world! The square is dominated by St Mark’s Basilica. The church and the square have some aspects in common: the Basilica’s western facade with its great arches and marble decorations, the Romanesque carvings around the central doorway and, the four horses, symbols of the pride and power of Venice.
The Piazzetta dei Leoncini is an open space on the north side of the church named after the two marble lions , but now officially called the Piazzetta San Giovanni XXIII. The neo-classic building on the east side adjoining the Basilica is the Palazzo Patriarcale, the seat of the Patriarch of Venice.
Beyond that is St Mark’s Clocktower, completed in 1499. To the right of the clock-tower is the closed church of San Basso, designed by Baldassarre Longhena (1675). To the left is the long arcade along the north side of the piazza, the buildings on this side are known as the Procuratie Vecchie, the old procuracies, formerly the homes and offices of the Procurators of St Mark, high officers of state in the days of the republic of Venice. They were built in the early 16th century.
Turning left at the end, the arcade continues along the west end of the piazza, which was rebuilt by Napoleon about 1810 and is known as the Ala Napoleonica (Napoleonic Wing).