Enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views from the top of this landmark bell tower, where Galileo once made his name.
Standing by St. Mark’s Basilica is the tallest tower in Venice, St. Mark’s Campanile. The simple red brick structure is 323 feet (98 meters) tall and capped by a gold figure of the Archangel Gabriel. From the top, enjoy fantastic views of city.
Construction of the original building started in the 9th century and was completed several centuries later. In 1902, the tower collapsed and today's incarnation dates from 1912.
Spend a few moments looking over the Logetta, the small building at the base of tower. The original edifice dates from the 16th century, but it too was destroyed when the tower fell. What you see today is an early 20th-century reconstruction. Admire the bas-reliefs and statues of Roman gods including Apollo and Minerva.
Then go up to the top of the bell tower for views of the city and nearby islands. Look out over the city’s red tiled roofs and ancient churches. Try to pick a clear day for your visit to be able to see as far as the Dolomites. The view is particularly impressive in winter and spring when there is snow atop the distant mountains.
Turn your gaze away from the stunning vistas to observe the tower’s famous five bells. They strike on the top of the hour, so you may hear them during your visit. All the bells are re-casted copies of the originals, which were destroyed when the tower collapsed in 1902.
While you are at the tower, seek out the plaque that commemorates an important event in the history of astronomy. Galileo Galilei famously demonstrated his telescope to the Doge of Venice from the tower in 1609.
St. Mark’s Campanile is on Piazza San Marco near the basilica. The bell tower is open daily from early morning until early evening with extended hours in July and August. There is a small charge to ascend the tower to experience the views.