Saint Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of the St. Mark’s Basilica, located in the beautiful St. Mark’s Square, in Venice. The bell tower is by far the most important attraction of the city and one of the most famous symbols of Italy.
On the place where the bell tower stands today, there was a watchtower or a lighthouse built in the 9th century. The structure was remodeled in the 12th century, and again in the 14th century, during which architects from Holland and France were called to reinforce the building.
The tower, already seriously damaged in 1489 by lightning, which destroyed its wooden cusp, was seriously hit by an earthquake in March 1511, making it necessary to start its consolidation.
The works, initiated by the architect Giorgio Spavento, were carried out under the direction of the architect Pietro Bon, and were completed on July 6, 1513, with the placement of the gilded wooden statue of the Archangel Gabriel.
Over the centuries, many interventions were made to the tower, often to repair the damage caused by lightning. Due to its height and the iron structures that reinforced it, the Campanile was a natural lightning rod. Finally, in 1776, the bell tower was equipped with a lightning rod.
In 1902, the bell tower collapsed and the restoration was entrusted to Gioacchino Dorigo. The works were completed in March, 1912.
With a height of 98.6 meters, the St. Mark’s Campanile is one of the tallest bell towers in Italy. It stands isolated in a corner of Piazza San Marco, in front of the basilica. Simple in shape, it consists of a brick square shaft with a 12 meters side and about 50 meters in height, above which is placed the belfry.
The belfry is surmounted by a cube, on whose faces are alternately depicted two Lions of St. Mark and the female representation of Venice. The tower is completed by the pyramid-shaped cusp, on whose top, mounted on a rotating platform to function as a vane, is placed the golden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. The base of the building is embellished, on the side facing the basilica, by the beautiful loggia of Sansovino.
HOW TO GET THERE
The closest waterbus stop is San Zaccaria, located about 350 meters away, on the waterbus Lines 1, 2, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, 5.2, 14, 15, 19, 20. To find the tower on foot, follow the arrows per San Marco or use the map below.