St Mark’s Bell Tower

The Campanile of St. Mark’s is an imposing square plan tower about 99 meters high, crowned by a spire that was once a lighthouse for shipping. It is the prototype of all the campaniles of the lagoon area. It was first built in the 12th century on the site of what was probably a watchtower and rebuilt in its current form early in the 16th century with the addition of a belfry and with the spire faced in copper and topped by a sort of rotating platform with a statue of the Archangel Gabriel which functioned as a weathercock. . A fact that not a lot of people are aware of is that the original building of this important symbol of Venice collapsed in 1902 and was rebuilt in 10 years.  Symbolically, modern astronomy began right here: in 1609, from the top of the bell tower, Galileo Galilei admired the satellites of Jupiter for the first time with his telescope and proved that the Copernican theory was correct.

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