As a city that reveals best arriving from the sea, the Campanile once greeted the returning sailors, tody mainly the incoming tourists.
The foundation of the Campanile (~ 90 meters high, 11 meters wide) took the impressive amount of 100.000 lumbers driven into the lagoons ground, to prepare the basement.
And yet - it happened on 13 July in 1902: The walls in the middle part suddenly cracked. The surrounding area was cordoned off wisely. On 14 July the Campanile collapsed. Miraculously damaging neither persons nor surrounding buildings. Only victim - so they say - was the cat of the janitor.
In fact, there exists a photo of the collapsing Campanile of 1902.
The second photo on the other hand seems more like the work of a skillful Photoshoppers (the cracks do not appear naturally). Especially in the second picture, the inclination angle can not possibly match the picture in the first.
Five bells have survived the collapse of the bell tower in 1902:
Sounding twice daily, once at noon and at midnight. It is named after the marangoni</ i>, the carpenters, which had of course a particular importance in connection with shipbuilding.
was rung at executions (nowadays rather rare, fortunately ;)
came to the magistrate to call in the
was rung at the ninth hour. Il <strong>Pregadi</strong>
Announced at the meeting of the Senate.
For its reconstruction, a wealthy American donated alone 1/2 million lira in gold (~ 1 million Euros). On 25 April 1912, the same day the foundation stone of the old tower was layed in 912, the tower was inaugurated a again (visionarily provided with an elevator).
The most famous of his five bells is the Marangona which announces Shrove Tuesday, eg the Carnival of Venice.
Small anecdote: It is the same Campanile which was climbed by Emperor Frederick III. on his horse! Following a reception at the Doge he rode up the stairs (at the time the tower had a spiral staircase) to to symbolically look down on the Doge.
Those who know the Doge's Palace, know that only stairs lead from the courtyard to the Doge up. For Frederick probably a rather misplaced symbolism, so that he rode on the Campanile to set things in the right proportions.
Every year on Giovedi Grasso (the Thursday before Ash Wednesday) an angel is lowered from the Campanile. Learn more about this ancient Venetian tradition.
The bell tower is open daily, but on holidays only from 9:30 to 15:30 (until 16:00 otherwise). You can stay up there as long as you want to. There's even a vending machine for softdrinks.
The hefty admission fee is compensated by a truly stunning panorama.
Admission Campanile: 8, - € (with elevator ride, Stand 2012)
Who wants to take a look at the main islands the tower of San Giorgio Maggiore is recommended (admission 4, - €), which is only hundred yards away - but on another island.