The government and tourist center of Venice
Originally called Rivoalto, San Marco has always been home to the most important government and monumental buildings. The heart of the sestiere is the square of the same name, the only one in Venice to be called piazza; all other urban spaces in the city are called campi. It is overlooked by St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice's cathedral and one of the best known examples of Italian-Byzantine architecture. Built in the shape of a Greek cross with domes and turrets, the interior is richly decorated, with entire walls of golden mosaics. Next to the Basilica is the 98.6-meter-high Bell Tower, one of the city's most recognizable monuments. Symbolizing the city’s power the splendid Doge’s Palace, seat of the elected ruler of Venice during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, has white and pink brick walls and is accessed through the 'Porta di Carta'.
At the far side of the square there is the Correr Museum, which is connected to the National Archaeological Museum, and the oldest café in Italy, Caffè Florian, can be found under the porticos of the Procuratie Nuove. Don’t miss the Rialto Bridge, the Clock Tower, the Royal Gardens of Venice and Teatro La Fenice.