St Mark's Campanile is the bell tower of St mark’s Bascilica in Venice, Italy, situated in the square (piazza) of the same name. It is one of the most remarkable and recognizable landmark of the city.
The tower is 98.6 meters (323 ft) tall, and is erected apart in a corner of St Mark's Square, close to the front side of the basilica. It has a simple form, the most part of which is a fluted brick square missle, 12 metres (39 ft) broad on each side and 50 meters (160 ft) tall, atop which is a arcade surrounding the belfry, housing five bells. The belfry is decorated by a cube, alternate faces of which display the Lion of St. Mark and the female symbol of Venice (la Giustizia: Justice). The tower is crowned by a pyramidal spire, at the peak of which sits a golden weathervane in the shape of the archangel Gabriel. The campanile reached its present shape in 1514. The current tower was rebuilt in its present form in 1912 after the demotion in 1902.
The tower is still undergoing structural reconstructions in order to halt its remittal.
The earlier 9th-century construction, began during the rule of Pietro Tribuno and constructed on Roman foundations, was leveraged as a watch tower for the dock, which then captured a considerable portion of the area which is now the Piazzetta. Construction was completed in the twelfth century, during the rule of Domenico Morosini.
Severely damaged by a fire in 1489 that damaged the wooden spire, the campanile obtained its definitive shape in the sixteenth century. These works, begun by the architect Girogio Spavento, continued under the guidance of Bartolomeo Bon of Bergamo, incorporated the belfry, realized in marble; the attic, on which the architecture of the lion of Saint Mark and Venice was put; and the spire, in gold leaf. The work was finished on 6 July 1513, with the establishment of the gilded wooden effigy of the Archangel Gabriel in the process of a ceremony recorded by Marin Sanudo.
After this for centuries numerous other initiatives were made to repair the damage caused by fires. Baldassarre Longhena, in 1653 took up the restorations. More work was completed after a fire on April 13, 1745, which resulted in the crack of some masonry, and killed many people due to falling of stonework. Eventually, in 1776, the campanile was coupled with a lightning rod. In place of the old effigy a new one was established by Luigi Zandomeneghi in the year 1820.
In July 1902, the northern wall of the tower starts manifesting signs of a severe crack which kept growing in the following days. Finally, on Monday, July 14 the campanile caved in entirely, also demolishing the logetta. Surprisingly, no one was killed, but the caretaker's cat. Because of the campanile's positioning, the damage was relatively restricted. Apart from the logetta, only a corner of the Biblioteca Marciana was damaged.
The same evening, the communal council sanctioned 500,000 Lire for the rebuilding of the campanile. The tower was rebuild exactly as it was, with some internal consolidate to prevent future damage. Work was completed by March 6, 1912. The brand new campanile was opened up on the event of Saint Mark's feast day on April 25, 1912, exactly 1000 years after the beginning of the original building.
Each of the five bells of the campanile manifests a particular significance. The Renghiera (or the Maleficio) manifested executions; the Mezza Terza signified a session of the Senate; the Nona sounded midday; the Trottiera reminded the members of the Maggior Consiglio for council meetings and the Marangona, the largest, rang to announce the beginning and ending of working day.
Conditions around Venice are mostly hazy but on a good day you can view as far as the Dolomites: in winter and spring when mountain is clad with snow, the view is specifically awesome. Venice below looks very small, clustered on its islets. After navigating through Venice's narrow lanes and tall buildings, you'll get a welcome bird's eye view of the town's geography.