Located in Venice, more precisely in St. Mark’s Square near the Grand Canal and a part of St. Mark’s Basilica, Campanile di San Marco is the tallest building in the city with a height that goes over 95 meters. Because of its height, this bell tower is often referred to by locals as “el paròn de casa” which translates to “the owner of the house”. The building we see today is actually a reconstruction of a previous bell tower that was destroyed in 1902. At first, St. Mark’s Campanile was edified as a watchtower to protect the city and know in advance who was approaching it but it was also a landmark that would show Venetians where their land was.
Let’s find out something more about Campanile di San Marco in Venice and why you should add it to your itinerary when visiting the city!
The Rich History of St. Mark’s Campanile
As previously mentioned, Campanile di San Marco was at first intended as a lighthouse and a watchtower and it was built in the XII century using what was left of a previous construction from the IX century. Due to a series of events, the tower that is now St. Mark’s Campanile has been rebuilt many times and it wasn’t until the XVI century that the bell was actually added to the tower. Early in the XX century though, the bell tower fell down due to a series of errors in its construction. Parts of the tower were recovered and reused for its reconstruction, other parts were remade, but the bell tower looks exactly the same as it did before this unfortunate event. The rebuilding of Campanile di San Marco took place between 1902 and 1912 and the reason it took a very long time to rebuild it is that its walls are covered in mosaics that depict events from the Bible.
The Structure of St. Mark’s Bell Tower
St. Mark’s Campanile’s structure is quite recognizable and unique. Filled with decorations located on top of simple red-ish bricks starting from the ground floor and getting to the top. The top in particular presents white arches that create openings where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city of Venice. The point of the tower consists of a pointed roof colored in green with a golden angel on top.
Inside the tower, there are five bells. Each of them had a different meaning back in the Republic of Venice:
- The Marangona: this bell rang twice a day and it would notify workers of the beginning and the end of the work day;
- The Malefico: this bell rang when somebody had been executed;
- The Trottiera: this bell rang to summon the members of Maggior Consiglio;
- The Mezza Terza: this bell rang to announce a Senate session;
- The Nona: this bell rang at midday;
A Venice Panorama: The Enchanting View from St. Mark’s Campanile
One of the best experiences that you can have whilst in Venice is climbing to the top of St. Mark’s Campanile. As mentioned before, St. Mark’s Bell Tower is the tallest building in the city of Venice and it offers a stunning panoramic view of the whole city, more precisely, you will be able to get a great look at St. Mark’s Basilica, Santa Maria della Salute, San Giorgio and when the weather allows it, even Murano!
If you want to go more in-depth and explore the city of Venice, we highly suggest you book a Venice Highlights Private Tour with us.
Visiting the city of Venice always makes for a fascinating experience since it is filled with beauty on every corner. Climbing on top of St. Mark’s Campanile will give you an even more beautiful experience and allow you to take in the city of Venice and fall in love with it completely. If you want to get to know more about the city of Venice and Italy in general, check out our other blogs.