On a very warm summer morning, I took a walk through the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy to discover the shops that are always hidden from view of of the pictures people post of St Marks Square. The Piazza San Marco is known for the beautiful Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica) among other monuments.The Basilica is one of the most famous buildings in Europe let alone the Piazza. It is everything that visitors describe it as. It’s why the lines to enter the buildings stretch far beyond the Piazza itself. One can wait all day to enter the Basilica di San Marco. This article and accompanying film is not focused on the inside of the Basilica. The film explores the stores and exterior of the Piazza.
The film starts at the edge of the Piazza San Marco where the beautiful waters of Venice are met by the gondolas and water taxis waiting to take tourist to other parts of the island. The film heads inward toward the Basilica di San Marco and Campanile. It turns towards the center of the Piazza and then heads under the overhangs to expose all the wonderful stores that are hidden under the shadows of the buildings. This is not an action adventure film. Indiana Jones does not make an appearance. This film attempts to bring the viewer along on a walk through the Piazza San Marco as if they were there. There was no editing done to the film except for the addition of music and tites. The camera never stops rolling. The entire film was shot on an Iphone 7+ utilizing an Osmo stablizier to keep the film steady.
Exploring the stores under the buildings that are called the Procuratie Vecchie and Procuratie Nuove was fascinating. Looking at the store fronts of modern stores encased in a building that was erected starting in the 15th century and defines early Renaissance architecture is a study in antithetics.
The store fronts were not the only interesting aspects of discovery. It was the people who worked in the stores that were also compelling. Many workers or owners simply ignored the camera. At one point however, there was a store owner who began to yell at me for filming his window. That moment is captured on the film. I had wondered why the store owner had gotten angry and waved to me to stop filming. One local told me that some store owners are worried that people will copy the designs of their jewelry or art.
St Mark’s Square is easily the busiest section of Venice. I had shot the film at 9;00 am in the morning and it had already begun to get crowded. By noon the square becomes so crowded that it becomes almost impossible to move around. The best time to see St Mark’s Square is early in the morning around 6:00 am during the summer when the sun has just risen. However most stores in the Piazza do not begin opening to 8:00 and 9:00 am in the morning. It seems not many people get up early in Italy except for the street cleaners and eager tourists. There are vendors selling little trinkets, but the stores of the Piazza keep away the illegal street vendors selling water like the ones who sell the water in places like the Colosseum in Rome. You do not see that problem in the Piazza. Nonetheless, they do have vendors selling those little lighted planes that shoot up in the sky and fall back down very quickly. Those guys were very annyong.
The best time to visit St Mark’s Square is around 9:00 in the morning. The square is not that crowded and most of the stores are open. It’s also a great time to get a seat in one of the outdoor cafes and sip some cappuccino, while having a very tasty croissant. As the film shows, it’s very easy to get a seat that early in the morning. At night, and late afternoon it’s a completely different story.
I hope you enjoy the film. It’s the first of many to soon be published here on the site. It’s not an action film or documentary, it’s simply “a walk through St Mark’s Square.”