Piazzetta dei Leoncini

Between the Basilica and Clock Tower

Lion in Piazzetta dei Leoncini

On the north side of St Mark’s Basilica is a pocket sized piazzetta, named for a handsome pair of porphyry lions presented to the city by Doge Alvise Mocenigo III on his accession in 1722 and especially endowed with some special child magnetism that proves irresistible to any crumbsnatcher (and many a grown-up) who walks by and needs to sit a while.

The east end is closed off by the 19th-century Palazzo Patriarcale, where three 20th-century Popes (St Pius X, St John XXIII and John Paul I) and all the other Venetian patriarchs have resided since the rational Napoleon made St Mark’s Venice's cathedral. Incorporated within is the dining hall where the doge hosted his legendary state banquets for notables and official guests; a corridor that once connected it directly to the Palazzo Ducale has been demolished. Also in the piazzetta is the deconsecrated church of San Basso, used for a baggage deposit during the day and concerts in the evening.

Practical Info

vaporetto: San Zaccaria

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