The square originated in the eighteenth century from the work of burial and arrangement of the streets facing the sea and overlooking the Molo Giuseppino, today Molo Venezia, the docking site, above all, of the ships owned by Lloyd Austriaco until the nineteenth century.
Piazza Venezia, at the time Piazza Giuseppina, was the square of Borgo Giuseppino, named after the Austrian Emperor Joseph II of Habsburg-Lorraine, son of Emperor Maria Theresa of Austria and successor in the policy of reforms initiated by his mother , including the freedom of worship to non-Catholics and the confiscation of the assets of the contemplative religious orders subsequently ceded to Napoleonids and Bourbons of Spain in exile, to barons, shopkeepers and entrepreneurs of the city.
To satisfy the needs of economic and demographic development, the emperor started a further expansion of the city beyond the Borgo Teresiano (Grand Canal), urbanizing the area that extended from the walls of the ancient Porta Cavana to the Lazzaretto San Carlo and giving rise between 1788 and 1825 to Borgo Giuseppino.
Important palaces overlook Piazza Venezia including the ancient residence of Baron Pasquale Revoltella, seat of the Civic Museum of Revoltella as well as the houses designed around 1826-1834 by the architect Valentino Valle and Domenico Corti to whom most of the credit is due of the planning of the Josephine district.
In the center of the square stands the monument of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, made in bronze by the sculptor Johann Schilling and inaugurated on April 3, 1875 in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph. With a height of 8 meters, the monument depicts Maximilian as an admiral raised on a high drum decorated with high-reliefs depicting the Austrian flag, the flag of the war and merchant navy, Trieste and Miramare.
On the octagonal base the reproduction of the full-length personifications of the four continents alternates with inscriptions and small medallions containing the symbols of science, poetry, arts and industry. After the First World War and the victory of the Italians, the monument was removed and placed first in a warehouse and from 1961 in the Miramare park, then left to return to the original site of Piazza Venezia after ninety years of absence.