Last December, as you saw on Facebook and Instagram, I visited the San Marco campanile in Venice. I decided to go during Christmas time to avoid queues. And I got it right. Only 10 persons. In Summer I think you have to deal with an hour wait or something. Anyway, the panorama was beautiful. It can be “handled” also by those suffering from vertigo, cause it’s not a shocking, close view. You can all see things also standing not that close to the windows (barred by the way). I decided to write 12 facts about the Campanile San Marco in order for you to learn more about it without too many boring notions. You’re welcome! 😉
12 facts about San Marco campanile
- Venetians call it “il paron di casa”, the landlord, the master of the house. I think it’s the perfect nickname.
- With its 96 meters it is one of the highest bell towers in Italy.
- The campanile is at a short distance from the Church, dividing piazza San Marco and la piazzetta (the small one towards the lagoon).
- It was built in 800 as a simple tower to guard the dock. Later it was rebuilt and modified.
- An earthquake devastated the tower in March 1511, making it necessary to start consolidation works. These works gave the campanile its present appearance.
- In 1609 Galileo Galilei used the bell tower to make a demonstration of his telescope.
- In the centuries the campanile was damage several times by lightning because of its height and the iron structures. These lightnings caused fires, slumping or gashes. Finally in 1776 they added a lightning rod.
- On its top (you probably didn’t notice, cause I myself didn’t) there’s a golden angel that turns like a weather vane. The author of the statue (1882) is Luigi Zandomeneghi.
- On July 14 1902 at 10 am the Campanile di San Marco collapsed. There were luckily no victims and no damages to the Basilica. But the Loggetta by Sansovino (the marble portion underneath the Campanile) was obviously destroyed. The “pietra del bando”, a column once used to proclaim the republic laws, protected the basilica. The municipality decided to rebuild both campanile and loggia where and as they were before, using the original elements.
- The municipality installed the elevator in 1962. It allows visitors to reach the top in 30 seconds and admire the panorama.
- Its bells are five: Marangona (from marangone, meaning carpentiere, and indicating all workers), the biggest one: it rang at dusk and at sunset, the hours of beginning and end of daily work. Maleficio (curse), the smallest: it announced the death sentences. La Nona rang at the ninth hour. The Pregadi bell summoned the senators to Palazzo Ducale. La Trottiera (the name evokes the horses trotting) summoned the magistrates. When I was up there, one of the bells started to ring and it was scary! 😀 In the video you can see the precise moment in which it rang (you can clearly feel a disturb in the Force) and I said “aiuto” (help)
- During Carnival you can attend the Flight of the Angel, going from San Marco campanile to San Marco square. My God, I coulnd’t do that! You can watch the official video here
In conclusion, I enjoyed the view very much. It’s quite expensive, though (8€ each). So, you may consider if it is better to choose another panoramic point in Venice, such as those described in my Best Things to Do in Venice post. I hope you liked my 12 facts about San Marco campanile!