One of the most outstanding buildings of the Piazza San Marco is the Library of St. Mark’s, designed by Sansovino and completed in 1591. The main hall, among the most beautiful rooms in Venice, is richly decorated with carved and gilded wood. Its ceilings are covered with paintings by Veronese, Tintoretto and their followers, while a fresco of Wisdom, by Titian, adorns the ante-room.
This grand edifice is approached by a magnificent staircase of gilt and stucco. It’s a fitting entrance to one of the Republic’s most prestigious buildings. Changing exhibitions of the library’s treasures are often held, and there are permanent displays of illuminated manuscripts, early printed books from Venetian presses and historic maps.
Of particular interest is one of the first “Mappa Mundi” ever drawn, by Fra’ Mauro, a XV century Camaldolese monk who hand painted and annotated a two meter circle of parchment, basing his image of the World upon the tales of navigators and merchants.