The Campanile (bell tower) of St Mark’s Piazza in Venice is one of the city’s most iconic symbols. Towering over the stunning façade of St Mark’s Basilica, the bell tower was originally built in the 800’s to serve as a lookout over a nearby dock.
Taking some 3 centuries to complete, it stood only a couple of hundred years before damaged by fire in the 1480s and again by an earthquake in the following century.
Compared to the time it took to complete the tower, this time the repairs were done relatively quickly – only about 30 years or so.
Continuing fires, many owing to lightening strikes, continued to plague the tower until a lightening rod was put in place in the late 1700s.
Due to the subsiding foundations of Venice, in 1902 a large crack appeared and spread until causing the tower to completely collapse into a spectacular mass of rubble in the middle of St Mark’s Square.
But the determined Venetian locals decided on that very same day to rebuild their beloved tower com’era, dov’era – as it was, where it was.
Just one decade later, the Campanile was reopened on the occasion of the Festa di San Marco, which happened to fall (excuse the pun) one millennium after the initial foundations are said to have been laid.
Today, a great thing to do in Venice is to go to the top of the tower – particularly since you can do so in a rather modern and comfortable elevator these days!
From the top, you can look out over St Mark’s Square and its amazing Basilica di San Marco, over to the Doge’s Palace, the iconic columns and out to the surrounding waters.
Visit St Mark’s on a guided tour and have our expert tour guide take you on a tour of the Doge’s Palace. Conclude your day with a relaxing ride on the Grand Canal in a motor launch on the small-group Grand Canal tour.
These Venice tours are also part of our super-discounted Grand Italy Tour discounted tour package including small-group tours in Rome and small-group tours in Florence.