The Campanile di San Marco

Day 20: Saturday, April 30, 2005
Photos by Pat Tyler and Gertrude Meyer on May 9th 2005

The Basilica di San Marco and Campanile

People were enjoying the spring noon day sun on the piazza. From the top of Campanile di San Marco (bell tower) one can enjoy views of Venice, the lagoon, and the peaks of the Alps.
Just a tiny bit of the Doge's Palace peeks through to the right of the bell tower and the museum on the far right. The picture was taken from the loggia of a museum, Museo Correr.

The San Marco Bell Tower juts skyward behind a museum.

At the right edge of the picture a representation of the Eiffel Tower of Paris decorates covering on a scaffold outside another museum on the piazza. The flag poles in front of the basilica are seen just left of the Eiffel Tower exhibit.
A solar-powered lighthouse
Although "campanile" means "bell tower," the Campanile di San Marco did double duty as a military watchtower when it was constructed in the 10th Century. Later, as the tower was expanded and refined, its bronze-sheathed roof caught the sun's rays and acted as a daytime beacon for mariners.

A bell for every occasion
The Campanile's five bells were intended to communicate five different messages. The largest signaled the beginning and end of each work day; another rang the hour; a third called senators to the Doge's Palace; the fourth summoned magistrates; and the smallest--il Maleficio--was rung to announce executions of the prisoners who dangled in cages halfway up the tower's walls. The bells are still rung today, but only to maintain tradition and entertain the tourists.

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