Hotel Antigo Trovatore is located in an area that has always been at the heart of Venetian hospitality, as it is near the San Marco Basin – the city’s original port and center of political power – and Rialto – the city’s commerce and trade center. This is where and why the first hotels and inns were developed: to host the many merchants and pilgrims sailing the Eastern routes toward the Holy Land.

The Hotel is just a few steps from the area of San Marco – the Square and its immediate surroundings – where some of the city’s major monuments are grouped: the Ducal Palace, Saint Mark’s Basilica, the Belltower, the Clocktower, the Museo Correr, and the Procuratie Nuove and Vecchie with their porticoes that completely envelop the Square.
For centuries, Saint Mark’s Square was the seat of the civil, religious, and political power of the Serenissima Republic. Here, among the many ceremonies, the newly-elected Doge was carried through the crowd on a shoulder carriage from which he threw coins to all the assembled to celebrate.

While the Basilica was the center of religious ceremonies, the Ducal Palace was the seat of the government. From here, crossing the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri), you accessed the house of the New Prisons.
Capital executions took place between the two columns that stand at the border of the Piazzetta on the Basin. Here, the sentenced convicts aimed their last glance towards the Clocktower, acknowledging the exact time of their death.


Antonio Canal detto Canaletto, Il molo verso Est con la Colonna di San Marco

Long ago, a part of the Square was also partially occupied by a large vegetable garden. Looking carefully, you can still see the outline of the old old well engraved in the pavement, and you can read a small plaque commemorating the ancient limit of the Square. The center of the Square is paved in a herring-bone pattern: during the time of Carnevale, this is where the carousel of masks took place.
From the archway that opens up under the Clocktower you access the Mercerie – the city’s main artery and century-old center of international shopping – which connects you to Rialto, the commercial heart of Venice that still today hosts the grand market area of the city.

Today, Saint Mark’s Square – also called “Europe’s Salon” – remains one of the world’s most iconic places, one of the most visited in Italy, and one that simply cannot be missed.