Campanile di San Marco (St Mark's Campanile), Venice

Campanile di San Marco (St Mark's Campanile), Venice

The city’s tallest bell tower was originally constructed in the 12th century, as a combined lighthouse and belfry, and was continuously modified up until the 16th century, when the golden angel was installed on its summit. Back in the day, each of the five bells here had a distinct function: the largest bell tolled the start and the end of a working day; another bell rang midday; two other bells either proclaimed a session of the Senate or called members of the Grand Council to the meetings; while the smallest of the bells gave notice of a forthcoming execution.

It was at the top of this belfry that Galileo Galilei famously demonstrated his telescope to the Venetian Doge on 21 August 1609 – the event commemorated by a plaque at the tower's observation deck. Still, the most dramatic event associated with the Campanile took place on 14 July 1902, when the tower fell down shortly after giving a sound of warning to the leisurely coffee drinkers at piazza below, sending them run for their lives!

The Venetians put the Campanile back “where it was and how it was”, and the tower is now safe to climb to the very top. Unlike other belfries where you have to brave a narrow, steep spiral set of stairs to reach the top, the Venetian one has an elevator so you can easily get a pigeon’s eye view just for a fee.

Standing 99 meters high, the Campanile is the tallest structure in Venice; an ideal vantage point for observing the cupolas of the San Marco basilica and further afield, including the surrounding lagoon. Sometimes in the evening, the view is so clear that one can literally see for miles away! But even if you don't reach the top, standing at the base of this historic belfry and staring up at its summit can be just as exciting an experience.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Venice. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Campanile di San Marco (St Mark's Campanile) on Map

Sight Name: Campanile di San Marco (St Mark's Campanile)
Sight Location: Venice, Italy (See walking tours in Venice)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Venice, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Creating your own self-guided walk in Venice is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Titian's Paintings Walk

Titian's Paintings Walk

One of the greatest painters of all time, Tiziano Vecelli – better known as Titian – was a pioneering figure of the Venetian school of Italian Renaissance painting. His career was successful from the start, and he became sought after by patrons, initially from Venice and its possessions, then joined by the north Italian princes, and finally the Habsburgs and papacy.

Equally adept with...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Jewish Ghetto Tour

Jewish Ghetto Tour

Founded in 1516, the Jewish Ghetto in Venice was the oldest of its kind in all Europe. At the time, Venice received order from the Pope to expel all Jews from the city, but the Venetian government opted to lock them onto a small island in the district of Cannaregio. Since then this small area has been the center of Jewish life in Venice, with buildings rising vertically to accommodate the rising...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 Km or 0.2 Miles
Murano Island Walking Tour

Murano Island Walking Tour

Murano is often called the Glass Island, since it is home to the most impressive and renowned Venetian glass factories. The master craftsmen here have preserved their centuries-old techniques, and the island is full of shops where you can admire and purchase their adorable glass items. Some factories, such as Gino Mazzuccato’s, at the start of this self-guided walk, even have special showrooms...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

Piazza San Marco Walking Tour

All of Venice’s roads seem to run into Piazza San Marco – the commercial, religious, and political heart of the city. With a glowing reputation as one of the finest squares in the world and arguably one of Europe’s primary tourist attractions, it certainly has a lot to offer to visitors.

Start your exploration with a tour of the pink-and-white marble Palazzo Ducale, which takes you...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 Km or 0.4 Miles
Dorsoduro Walking Tour

Dorsoduro Walking Tour

One of the six districts of Venice, Dorsoduro’s name translates as “hard bridge” due to the area's relatively high terrain. Home to some of the city’s highest spots, it also comprises some of Venice’s most picturesque canals, historic locations and cultural venues, including the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute; the Gallerie dell’ Academia & the Ca’ Rezzonico – both...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 Km or 1.3 Miles
Venice Introduction Walking Tour

Venice Introduction Walking Tour

Although most experts agree that the Venetian lagoon emerged nearly 6,000 years ago, the area of today's Venice remained mostly uninhabited, except for a small population of fishermen, up until the 5th century AD when the hordes of Gothic barbarians, looting their way into Rome, drove many a people away from their homes on the mainland to take refuge on the coastal Venetian islands.

Those...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles

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