The Campanile di San Marco is one of the most iconic buildings in Venice. Situated near the Basilica di San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, it stands at 98.6 meters tall (323 ft) and provides an incredible view of the whole region.
St. Mark’s Square
Apr-Oct 08:30 – 21:00
Nov-Mar 09:30 – 17:30
1st-15th Apr 09:00 – 17:00
Do not stand too close to the bells when on top of the Campanile. If they happen to ring while you are nearby, you might get your ears hurt.
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The History Behind The Campanile
The Magyar invasions from 898 and 899 led to the short occupation of important cities in the region, such as Cittanova, Padova and Treviso. Although the Venetians ultimately defeated the Magyars, the city remained vulnerable to attacks, especially from Slavic pirates who very often attacked Venetian ships on the Adriatic sea.
To solve the problem, Doge Pietro Tribuno ordered the construction of a series of fortifications around the city. One of these structures was to be a huge watch tower on St. Mark’s Square.
The View From the Campanile
From the top of the Campanile you will be able to see many kilometers alway, and as consequence, the whole city of Venice and its adjecent islands.
From the southern side, you can see the rest of Piazza di San Marco, as well as the rooftops of the Museo Correr and the Biblioteca Nazionale Marziana. Up ahead you can see the entrance to the famous Grand Canal, with the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute on the edge of the island.
From the northern side, you can see the Basilica di San Marco and the Torre dell’Orologio, as well as the entirety of the San Marco neighborhood. If you look further behind, you can see up until the continent, which gives you an idea of the reach the tower has.
Visiting the Campanile at Night
In my personal opinion, the best time to visit the campanile is at night. You will not only be able to see how bright the city gets, with the light reflecting on the waves, but also the starry sky. A sky that attracted many throughout the centuries, including Galileo Galilei. A demonstration of his famous telescope was done at the tower and until today, the it holds a sign that says:
Galileo Galilei con il suo cannocchiale
da qui il 21 agosto 1609
allargava gli orizzonti dell’uomo
nel quarto centenario.
A dedicatory written by the city, which translated to English means:
Galileo Galilei with his telescope
from here on August 21, 1609
widened the horizons of man
in the fourth centenary.