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Piazzetta (San Marco)

from: Fisheye Venice

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At the opposite end of the Piazzetta, two columns face the square and the waterfront. (Originally there were three, but one fell into the lagoon during the columns' installation during the 12th Century.)

The granite columns--one named "Marco," the other "Todaro"--were imported from Egypt at a time when Venetians were bringing back saints' relics, antiquities, and other loot from trading trips and military successes abroad. The sculptures on top are later additions.

In the heyday of the Venetian Republic, the space between the columns--also used for executions--was the only area in Venice where gambling was legally permitted. Today, the Casiṇ di Venezia is the nearest gaming venue, although you might get lucky and find a Three-Card Monte dealer hiding among the pigeons.




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