“One of the most striking structures in Venice,” says Ten Penny Dreams. The Campanile, the bell tower that rises high over St Mark’s Square -- or “il paron di casa, the landlord, the master of the house,” as Venetians call it, explains Laura Teso at My Corner of Italy. At 96 metres tall it is one of the highest bell towers in Italy. “It was built in 800 as a simple tower to guard the dock,” writes Teso, and in 1609 “Galileo Galilei used the bell tower to make a demonstration of his telescope.”
The Campanile has five bells, notes Europe for Visitors. “The largest signalled the beginning and end of each work day,” while the smallest, called il Maleficio (the cursed one), “was rung to announce executions of the prisoners who dangled in cages halfway up the tower’s walls.”
And the Campanile has a twin across the water on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. In many ways the view from up here is better, as it includes the Campanile of San Marco, the Doge’s Palace and the Grand Canal. “Despite the campanile being no hidden secret, it gets far fewer visitors than the bell tower of San Marco,” says European Traveler.
Sign up for Guidebook's weekly collection of fresh stories and useful news about Venice for travelers. It’s free.