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This 325ft red brick belltower is one of Piazza San Marcos popular landmarks.
As I mentioned in my intro, I don't like to waste time queueing for hours, when I could be spending the time exploring etc.
However, on my last morning, I'd nipped out to find an ATM in the Piazza, and passing the Campanile, saw there was only a short queue, so decided to take my chance. I'd been stood for 5 minutes, when I learnt that the elevator was broken- there was some chance that it would be sorted within the hour. I returned to my hotel and continued with my original plan, to see as much of Venice in my few hours before returning to the airport
The Camponile holds 5 bells, each had their own function
The Trottiera announced a session of the Grand Council
The Marangona is the largest, signalling the beginning and end of the working day
The Nona rang to announce noon
The Mezza Tererza rang to announce the opening of senate
The Maleficio -the smallest bell rang to announce an execution
In 912 the tower was in operation as a lighthouse and belltower. The area that is now the Piazzetta, was the citys harbour.
It was continually renovated and modified until 1515, when it was rebuilt by Bartolomeo the Younger, who added a gold angel to its top. This lasted until 14th July 1902, when the tower gained a huge crack, followed by the tower completely collapsing at 09.52- being Venetian, it did this elegantly! and surprisingly the only life lost was of the caretakers cat - Melampyge, who was named after Casanovas dog!!
The decision was made to reconstruct the tower 'Where it was and as it was' or dov'era e com'era - (The same slogan being used later that century following the fire and subsequent restoration of the Fenice Theatre), and it re-opened on St. Marks Day 25th April1912. There were those who thought that the Piazza looked far better without the Camponile though.
The base of the tower -an elegant Loggetta, was intended to be a club for noblemen, but became a guardroom for voluntary police officers - the Arsenalotti, then the state lottery centre.
When the tower collapsed, it was completely destroyed, but surprisingly was reconstructed from the salvaged wreckage. Salsovina originally designed a building to completely enclose the campaniles base, but in the end, only a quarter of this work was carried out (between 1537 and 49)
The marble reliefs are from Verona, representing Venice (Justice) Crete (Jupiter) and Cyprus (Venus) (The Most Serene Republic -Serenissima )
Bronze figures of Pallas, Apollo, Mercury and Peace, and the terracotta figures inside the loggia are believed to be the work of Sansovino, except for the figure of St John, which is a modern copy.
Lift Open (!) daily April - June, Sept and October 0900 - 1945
July and August 0900 - 2100
November- March 0930 - 16.15
Closed for 3 weeks after Christmas each year
admission 6 euros.
I've been told that a good view is just before the sunsets.
UPDATE>>>> I understand that the Campanile is closed for restoration at the moment -It usually is after Christmas, but this is a BIG JOB!!!!
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The Campanile - Views From the top
As mentioned in my previous tip, I didn't ascend the tower during my Christmas 06 visit.
I hadn't intended to visit this time (June 07), but - No Queue and the elevator was working! So I decided this my chance to see the views, and maybe catch the sunset!
Apparently on a clear day, You can see the Alps
I paid 6 euros, and entered the lift.
My initial idea that I would have the views more or less to myself were soon quashed by the noisy arrival of a large group of middle aged- elderly people, weighed down with cameras, all chattering ten to the dozen at top volume in an unidentifiable language.
As the elevator rose, my spirits sunk - as I was repeatedly dug in the ribs by my neighbours elbow, while being trodden on - Hey, I'd become invisible!!
Spilling out of the elevator, I headed towards one of the viewing bays, and was settling down to get my bearings, when I was nudged along, by one of the camera wielding group, eager to take a picture of their partner.
I moved to one side, thinking she would take the photo, then move on - Oh no- this was to be an epic, as the one being photographed kept directing the shot, checking it, deciding it wasn't to her liking, re posing etc!
Each of the viewing bays has a map depicting the view, and indicating the direction that you're facing. There are also taped guides available from the ticket desk.
However, getting to see anything became a battle, as another group from the same party had arrived.
The Camponile had become Campon-Hell!
I eventually managed to see the views - including over San Marco Piazza, the roof of the Ducal Palace, towards the surrounding islands, and I even caught the sun setting.
I would have liked to have spent more time locating the landmarks of Venice, but was getting fed up of being jostled around.
During this time, the large bells rang - but even they couldn't drown out the sound of this tour group!
I admitted defeat and left!
Open Daily 0900 hrs
October - Easter to 1700
Easter - Sept to 1900
June - mid September to 2100
Admission 6 euros
UPDATE- December 2008 - I visited the church of St Giorgio Maggiore - climbed its campanile - and had a better time- less crowded , 3 Euros, and with Great views -and time to enjoy them!!
UPDATE - DEC 09-Closed at present for restoration work -
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amazing panorama views
I have to admit that enjoyed the bell tower of San Marco more than anything else at the square. The entrance fee is 8 euro but it is worth every euro because of the amazing view you will get when you get up there by lift.
The tower is 98 meters tall with a golden statue of the archangel Gabriel on the top that rotate by wind and when it facing the Basilical the locals know there will be high water! It dates back from the 9th century and rebuilt in 12th, 14th and 16th again. It was totally collapsed in 1902 and was built again in 1912. What we see today is a replica of its predecessor. Although it is a bell tower it was basically used as a watchtower. It houses 5 bells that signaled different messages (start/end of the work day, the hour, call to judges at the doge’s palace, summon magistrates and announce of executions!!). Some days earlies I had seen AC/DC live in Athens so I couldnt resist singing "Hells Bells" for a while :)
As I said the amazing thing here isn’t the tower and the big bells (pic 2) but the amazing views over Venice (pics 3-4). I was surprised we were almost alone up there so we could take our time admiring the view in all directions and then take some photos of the lagoon, the neighboring islands, the beautiful red rooftops of Venice etc. There are some simple signs that indicate what you are looking at and you can also use the audio guide that you take before going up with the lift. It is open 9.00 till late in the afternoon (depending on season).
There is a small souvenir shop up there but don’t waste your time for that up there, enjoy the view!
- Historical Travel
Campanile (bell tower) of San Marco
This massive bell tower is not to old, it was completed on 25 April 1912, exactly 1,000 after the original stone was placed to build the original tower. In 1902, that original tower collapsed (see the 2nd photo, no I did not take that one).
This one was built to the same specifications as the original, despite many Venetians who thought the piazza looked better without this monster Tower. Well, most of the funds to build it came from outside donations anyway so they don’t have much to complain about.
Needless to say, a trip to the top will give you amazing views of the city, and on a clear day, the alps to the north.
Unsurpassed Views from the Campanile di San Marco
Oddly enough, visiting the Campanile was not at the top of my "to do" list, but as it turned out, it was one of my favorite things during our visit to Venice!
On the day we tried but did not succeed in visiting St. Mark's Basilica, our next and easiest choice was to visit the Campanile which is located across the Piazza. The line was relatively short, and we easily passed the roughly 30 minutes waiting time talking to the family in front of us. When we finally made it just inside, we purchased our ticket (8 Euros ea.) and boarded the elevator which took us swiftly to the open observation area.
As you work your way around the observation area, spread before you are the views of the rooftops of San Marco, the lagoon and island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the Chiesa del Salute, the Doge's Palace, the Piazza San Marco of course, and it's said that on a clear day you can see all the way to the Dolomites! I would very much like to have stayed up there for at least an hour but had to settle for far less.
Take time to have a look the tower bells and the very small but ornate, wrought iron staircase which appears at the middle of the observation level. It's said that there were originally 5 bells, with each being rung for a different purpose to proclaim to the citizenry of Venice the death of a doge, a war declared, or for religious holidays. Notably, there is also a plaque which commemorates the fact that even Galileo couldn't resist visiting the campanile with his telescope. There is a small gift shop there with postcards, magnets, and other souvenirs and two Euro will get you a coin emblazoned with the image of the Campanile itself.
Keep in mind that the campanile standing today was built in the 20th century! The original campanile was built in the 9th century, with succeeding attempts in 12th, 14th, and 16th centuries as well. The marble loggia base was added by Jacopo Sansovino in the 16th century rebuild, only to have the tower collapse in 1902. Not to be dissuaded, the Venetians rebuilt the tower exactly as it had looked, reusing some of the same materials. Only one of the 5 original bells remains in use today but in my opinion, all the bells look quite ancient.
You can hardly miss the bell tower that goes with the Basilica di San Marco, it's one of the landmarks of the piazza. The original one collapsed in 1902 after standing for centuries, and legend has it that the golden angel on top landed right on her feet on the ground, which of course all the Venetians took as a good sign if not a miracle. It was also a good sign that no one was killed in the collapse. This one is an exact replica of the original, with the original angel.
There are five bells, which used to signal different things to the citizens in centuries past. Taking the elevator to the top for great views is very popular and there's often a line - I'd recommend going to the bell tower on the tiny island of San Giorgio Maggiore instead.
The second thing to see...
... in Venice is the campanile di San Marco. The tower, 96,8 meters high, was inizially built during the 800 secolo. 1912 it was rebuilt as it is today.
More important might be the amazing view you get from the top. The elevator cost 6 euro, but it's definately worth it, as long as the line isn't too long... I waited for 10 minutes, and that was no problem.
From the top you can see all over Venice, in all four directions. It might be a good idea to buy a "guide-phone" on the ground-floor, to understand more what it is that you're looking for.
However, I decided to save some money, stay without the guide-phone - and I was pleased anyway. It suppose it depends on how much you really want to know, and how sure you are about that you haven't forgot everything in the same minute you go down again...
Amazing view anyway, but make sure to plan the time. Otherwise you might get stuck in the line to get into the elevator... It might be a lot of people up, so don't go up if you're in a hurry.
The Campanile is 98,60 meters high and it is the most highest campanile in Venice. There is elevator which will lead you at the top for 6 EUROS. The view from the top is amazing. It is the best to go earlier in the morning to escape the crowd.
Open everyday from Oct-Feb daily 9:30am-4pm Mar-June daily 9am-7pm July-Sept daily 9am-9pm
Great views of Venice
The Campanile was constructed sometime in the 10th century with alterations made in the 12th and 16th centuries. Check out the weather vane on the top which features a statuette of the Archangel Gabriel. Interestingly the entire tower collapsed without warning in 1902. What you see today is an exact replica of the original which took 10 years to build.
Fact: The Campanile on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley is modeled after the one in the Piazza San Marco.
Related Tip: In order to miss having to stand in a long queue for the elevator and having to jockey for position once you are up at the observation level, go to the Campanile either first thing in the morning or shortly before it closes.
Campanile - Bell Tower
Built in the 9th century, it once served as a watchtower and lighthouse protecting the city from enemy fleets.
It reached the present appearance ( 99m high ) in 1514 by Bartolomeo Bon.
On July 14, 1902 the structure collapsed as if it was demolished by implosion.
The present structure, built in 1912 is an exact replica.
Venetians used to call it "El Paron de Casa" ( the lord of the house )
Inside the bell tower there are 5 large cast iron bells. Each bell has a name wich recall its purpose:
La Marangona announced the beginning and end of the work day;
La Trottiera called magistrates to meetings in the Palazzo Ducale;
La Nona rang for the mid-day;
The Pregadi announced meetings of the Senate;
The Renghiera or Maleficio rang as a signal that a capital execution was to take place.
Climbing up the Tower gives us a wonderful birds-eye view of the city.
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Well, the first thing I noticed approaching Venice was the tall and mighty Campanile.
First constructed in the 12th century, the Campanile had to be rebuilt as it collapsed in 1902.
Apparently the second version is shorter than the original one, but includes a lift to an observation deck, for which you have to pay 8 euros and wait in line a while for.
Since we had limited time, we didn't go up the deck. However, it's known to be the most popular place for capturing beautiful pictures of Venice.
Campanile di San Marco
The main landmark of Venice is the Campanile die San Marco. It was built in the 12th century but collapsed in 1902.
The rebuilt Campanile is 98 m high and includes a lift to an observation deck. The admission to the observation deck is 6 Euro (2004).
The Campanile di San Marco can be found in the San Marco district at St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco).
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Going up the Campanile
The bell tower of St. Mark's basilica is located right in front of the church on Piazza San Marco. The "Campanile", as it is most often referred to, is another one of Venice's easily recognizable structures. It is almost 100 m tall, and its simple brick design is quite different from the elaborate Byzantine style of the basilica - so much so that the two don't really seem related at all. Records show that the first bell tower was built during the 9th century, but over the years the Campanile was damaged by several earthquakes and fires, which led to different restoration and reconstruction works. It took on its present form during the 15th century, and the beautiful balcony at the base of the bell tower, called "Sansovino Loggia", was added in the 16th century. In July 1902, when the Campanile completely collapsed, plans were immediately laid to build a new one that would keep the previous design. The new Campanile and loggia were completed in 1912.
The only time we had to wait in line for anything during our trip to Venice was to go up the Campanile. We waited about 30 minutes to take the elevator that brings visitors up to the belfry, from where it's possible to enjoy a fantastic view of Venice and the lagoon - that in itself was worth waiting in the sun for half an hour! The Campanile's five bells - Marangona, Nona, Trottiera, Mezza Terza and Renghiera - can also be seen. It was interesting to learn that back in the days, each bell had a purpose: the first one announced the beginning and the end of the working day, Nona was rang at lunch time, the following two bells announced Upper Council and Senate meetings, repectively, while Renghiera rang when there was an execution. The bells still ring every hour and trust me, they're loud!!
Tickets for the Campanile cost 8 Euros.
- Historical Travel
Top of Venice - The Campanile
The view from the Campanile in St. Mark's Square offers some stunning views of the city. You can observe the many cupolas of San Marco and others. You can look out onto the shining Adriatic Sea. Also there are some really neat perspectives of Piazza San Marco that are worth going to the top!!
Closed Jan 7-31
Oct-Feb daily 9:30am-4pm
Mar-June daily 9am-7pm
July-Sept daily 9am-9pm
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The bells were originally used to announce danger to the trooops, with calling the citizens to arms. The Campanile tower was a guarantee of the security of the Ducal government.
They also had other functions: one was to signal the beginning and end of the working day, the 2nd rang every hour, a 3rd called the Senators to the Doges Palace, the 4th summoned magistrates and the 5th, smallest bell rang to announce an execution of a prisoner who dangled in cages halfway up the tower's walls.
Nowadays the bells are still rung but just for the tourists. Luckily, I was not up the tower at the time when the bells rang!
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