The Bell tower of Saint-Mark
« The Lord of the House », « El paron de casa » is the how the Venetians affectionately refer to the Bell tower of Saint-Mark square.
They began its building in 888. In 1080 it had attained one third of its height when the soil gave in under its weight.
The Doge Domenica Selvio ordered its demolition to rebuild it further some measuring apparatuses, with the current site.
They added the arrow in 1178 which, considered unsightly, was replaced in 1510 by the new arrow with its granite columns, its oriental marbles and its bronze blades.
In 1513 they hoisted the gold angel in its summit and they poured some milk and wine as a sign of joy and as a propitiatory offertory.
Collapsed in 1902St. Mark bell tower resisted the attacks of the lightning and earthquakes, while being the privileged witness of the History of Venice, until it collapsed on itself from the top of its 98 meters of July 14th, 1902 at 10 am. No victims, apart from a cat.
The Basilica fortunately did not suffer any damage, because rubble was stopped by the “pietra de bando”, the stone on which one proclaimed the opinions.
Restored in 1912The same evening of cataclysm, the Town council met to decide to rebuild the Bell tower of Saint-Mark where it was and as it was: « Com' era, dov' era » became which will take the force of a saying in Venice. “Where it was and as it was”!!!
They placed the first stone in April 1903 to rebuild it with the ancient materials.
April 25th, 1912 on Saint-Mark’s Day, they inaugurated the revived Bell tower of Saint-Mark.
« I had not seen Venice since the Bell tower of the place Saint-Mark has been rebuilt.
Its new aspect gives it the air of an interloper.
The air of a giant who came from abroad to propose marriage to the basilica and remained there, clumsy and motionless, in a too new suit… »
Maurice Barrès - Ten Days in Italy, 1916.
In the middle of the Piazza
« At the point of meeting of the two Saint-Mark' places, coming off the ground and boldly rising toward the skies, the Campanile, or Bell-tower of Saint-Marc, isolated from the church of this name by the line and the width of the right angle which form the meeting of these two places...
Dominating the Piazza with its 98 meters, and itself dominated by its pointed roof, that surmounts a gold angel, this Bell-tower seems the headlight of Venice, because it orders all its buildings.
Square as a keep, it is possible to reach its platform by a soft slope which has only one broad step with each angle of the wall. »
Driou - Travel in Venice 1861
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