NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION Venice, on the Adriatic Sea in northeastern Italy
DATE OF CONSTRUCTION
Collapsed completely in 1902; reconstruction completed in 1912 HEIGHT 320 ft (98 m) PURPOSE Bell tower
The elegant bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica is as recognizable and treasured a Venetian icon as the gondolas of the Grand Canal. The red brick shaft, with its arched belfry and pyramidal spire, is topped by a 10-ft (3-m) golden weathervane depicting the angel Gabriel with outstretched wings. Venetians believe that when the angel is facing the Basilica, high tides are on the way.
Fires, floods, and earthquakes all took their toll on the campanile. Even after repeated restoration, ominous cracks reappeared and on July 14, 1902 at 9:45am the original tower collapsed into rubble. Miraculously, the only fatality was the caretaker’s cat. A wisely reinforced reconstruction was inaugurated on St. Mark’s Day, April 25, 1912.
Getting There and Around Busy public water buses take 45 mins from Marco Polo Airport to St. Mark’s Square, site of the campanile.
When to Go Summer is hot and crowded. Winter can see flooding but the Carnival (Feb) is a magical time. The campanile may be climbed all year.