St. Mark’s Square in Venice



pave located lapis lazuli
adorn adjacent alabaster
palace century gemstone
refer feast (2) all over the world
queue highlight date back
site basilica at home here
doge fixture for a while
due to collapse structure
cruise rebuild authorities
glory restore marble (2)
canal injured permanent
flock head (2) countless
ban veritable look forward to
mosaic heart (2) all to themselves
take over appreciate
still (2) volcano around (2)






The famous clock tower with its lapis lazuli gemstones is located in the northeast of St. Mark’s Square. St. Mark’s Basilica is adorned with marble alabaster and gold mosaics. Napoleon once referred to St. Mark’s square as the finest ballroom in Europe.

It’s paved with volcanic rock. Roberto is a waiter at Cafe Florian. It’s been serving the square’s visitors for around 300 years.

Most of its customers are tourists. Most locals find 10 Euros for a cup of coffee too expensive.

I’ve been working here for 22 years. What I still like about the job is that every day I’m in contact different people from all over the world, speaking all these different languages. Nobody could offer me this kind of job with this kind of view.

The 175 meter long piazza is a veritable feast of architectural highlights including buildings that date back to the 12th century.

This square is a special a meeting place for Venetians because it really is the heart of the city. We all feel at home here.

Towering over the piazza is the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica. Almost 100 meters up, the bell tower offers fantastic views of the Doge’s palace.

For a thousand years, the site was the center of government for the Republic of Venice.

The Bell Tower collapsed in 1902 due to structural problems, but luckily no one was injured. That same day, the city authorities decided to rebuild it.

They wanted it restored to its former glory. A few years later it was back, and it hasn’t changed a bit since then.

From St. Mark’s Square, you can view the adjacent canal and cruise ships as they head for the Adriatic.

Every day some 32,000 visitors flock here from countless different countries.

You often have to queue for hours to visit the 11th century basilica.

The pigeons are a permanent fixture even if there’s a ban on feeding them.

The most magical time to be here is the early morning. Then you can really appreciate the beauty of the city. There’s not much going on.

Later on during the day, the tourists take over, so it’s nicest early in the morning.

The square is still quite empty when the bell tower opens at nine in the morning.

For a while the first visitors of the day can look forward to having one of Europe’s most beautiful squares all to themselves.


1. St. Mark’s Square is paved with asphalt and cement. True or false?

2. Did Napoleon visit Venice?

3. Describe the Cafe Florian. Who are its customers? Why?

4. Who is Roberto? Does he like his job? Why does he like his job?

5. The piazza contains many different buildings. Is this right or wrong?

6. Is St. Mark’s Square the center or heart of Venice? Do locals gather and meet there? When is the best time to visit St. Mark’s Square? Why?

7. Describe the Bell Tower. Is the Bell Tower the original one? Did it take decades to rebuild?

8. How do many tourists come to Venice? How many tourists come to Venice every day?
A. I work in the tourist industry. Yes or no?

B. I have visited Venice. Yes or no? Have your friends visited Venice?

C. Do all your friends, colleagues and neighbors want to visit Venice?

D. Are there tourist hot-spots in your city or country? Is it very famous? Do many tourists go there?

E. What will happen in the future?

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