campanile-san-marcoThe building of S. Mark’s Campanile, (originally the lighthouse for sailors and perhaps military Tower) began in the 9th century under the reign of Pietro Tribuno to arrive, after many renovations and restorations, the final aspect between 1511 and 1514.

In its secular life, el paron de casa, as the Venetians call it affectionately, was struck by lightning and earthquakes, but continued to remain standing until, for imprudent wall works, July 14, 1902 around 10 a.m., collapsed upon itself. Of the five bells (Marangona, also called the elder bell, announcing the beginning and end of working time of marangoni namely of carpenters of the arsenal, and the seating of the great Council; the Nona that beat the noon; the Trottiera which gave the second signal to the nobles who took part in the meetings of the Maggior Consiglio; Mezza terza that announced the meetings of the Senate and the Renghiera or Curse, the smallest, announced the executions), was saved only the Marangona. The bells were all recast, obtaining the casts from fragments of the old ones that were reassembled using the same material.

The April 25, 1903 was placed the first stone and, nine years later, in 1912, on the day of St. mark, the new campanile was inaugurated and, with original pieces, the statue of the Archangel Gabriel, was almost entirely rebuilt and placed on top.

Trivia:

Venetians say andemo a bever un’ombra (Let’s drink a glass of wine) that is a contraction for andemo a bever a Goto de vin a l’ombra del campanil (Let’s drink a glass of wine in the shadow of the bell tower) because many years ago the base of the Campanile was surrounded by restaurants and shops, all in wood, which were demolished.

The Campanile was also known for the supplissio de la cheba, which consisted of an iron cage suspended with ropes in which one wanted the convict night and day.

During the period of Carnival, the Fat Thursday, the Doge and the Signoria went to “the Angel flight”, an exercise of balance of an Acrobat on a tightrope from the height of belfry until a boat docked on the St. Mark’s basin or fixed to the loggia of the Palazzo Ducale. Then, probably as a result of falls, the Acrobat was replaced by a wooden Dove and the flight was renamed el svolo de la colombina (the Dove flight) . In 2001, to return to tradition, again staged the Angel Flight but the protagonist of the descent, today, actually is well anchored with a rope to avoid any type of accident.