The Piazza Venezia is a major circus and the central hub of Rome, Italy, in which many thoroughfares intersect. It takes its name from Venice ("Venezia" in Italian), after the Venetian Cardinal, Pietro Barbo (later Pope Paul II) who had built the Palazzo Venezia, a palace set next to church of Saint Mark, also nearby, the patron saint of Venice. Palazzo Venezia was the former embassy of the city of the Republic of Venice to Rome.
The piazza or square is at the foot of the Capitoline Hill and next to Trajan's Forum. The main artery, the Viale di Fori Imperiali starts there, leading past the Roman Forum and to the Colosseum. It is dominated by the imposing Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, first king of Italy. In 2009, during excavations for the Rome C Metro Line, ancient remains of what has been identified as emperor Hadrian's Athenaeum were unearthed in the middle of the square.