Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco was constructed in the ninth century as a small square dotted with trees. The square was laid out in front of the original St. Mark’s Basilica, at the time a small chapel which was part of the Doge’s Palace.
The square was separated from the palace by a small canal, the Rio Batario. Already a central gathering place for Venetians, the piazza was enlarged in 1174 after the canal and an adjoining dock were filled in. The square became paved with bricks in 1267 in a herringbone pattern. In 1735 the bricks were replaced with natural stone and laid in a more complicated pattern according to a design devised by architect Andrea Tirali. The design marked the location where merchants could set up their stalls.