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The Campanile Bell Tower of San Felice in Venice

San Felice bell tower is 22 metres high.

San Felice Campanile Bell Tower in Venice
San Felice Bell Tower
The Campanile of San Felice is a small bell tower that can be seen when passing on the Strada Nova in the Cannaregio, very close to Ca' d'Oro Palace.

The first church of San Felice was built here in the year 960 by the Gallina family.

But between the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century, the entire building, bell tower and church, was in an increasingly precarious state that threatened to collapse.

In 1531 therefore, one decided to cut down the church and its bell tower and rebuild the whole, which you can see today along with the Strada Nova.

On the other hand, at the time, the Strada Nova did not exist, and this part of Venice presented many narrow and tortuous streets called “Calli”.

San Felice Campanile Bell Tower in Venice
San Felice Bell Tower
A long time later, in 1867, on August 8, after the Austrians departure from Venice, the Municipal Council of Venice became Italian and decided to widen the street.

At the end of this enlargement works, this new wide street baptized “Via Vittorio Emmanuele” was later named “the Strada Nova”, the “Wide New Street”.

The aim was to connect Piazzale Roma and the train station directly to the centre of Venice.

Even if this breakthrough and expansion indeed destroyed part of the initial charm of this district by installing this uncommon straight street in Venice, the result has nevertheless been positive for this small church and its bell tower.

San Felice Campanile Bell Tower in Venice
San Felice Bell Tower
They are now clearly more visible than they were initially supposed to be.

The current church was built on a Greek cross plan, and its small bell tower is located in one corner of the cross.

This bell tower strikes with its great simplicity, certainly one of the simplest campaniles in Venice.

However, we can see some decorative elements, as above, this architectural fragment of Gothic style, in the shape of a flower, added on the bell tower after its construction.

This gothic flower with a ball at its top is said to date from the 15th century.

Madonna with Child of the Kyriotessa type and a radiant circle sculpture, on San Felice Bell Tower in Venice
Madonna with Child
Even more touching, on this Campanile's façade located on the side of Rio de Noal, is this excellent low relief probably of the 13th century; it represents a Madonna on a throne, holding her child, who has arms wide open.

She is a Madonna of the Kyriotessa type, an old form depicting the mother of God on Byzantine icons since the 5th century.

This little Madonna, very touching, is made of Istrian stone and measures 40 centimetres by 30.

As you can see, it is presented in a serrated edge frame.

The serrated edge frame is a decorative element that is also very present in Venice around coats of arms but also very often used as the framing of Venetian palaces' doors.

Flower, sculpture fragment of Gothic style, on San Felice Bell Tower in Venice
Flower of Gothic style
Under the Madonna and Child, another element of architectural fragments dating from the sixteenth century, represents a radiant circle in Istrian stone, 45 cm by 35 cm in size.

In the shape of a square tower, San Felice's bell tower shows only its upper part above the neighbouring buildings.

On the other hand, we were able to enter the church's courtyard, which allowed us to take a photograph of the Campanile from its base, which gives it an already much slenderer look.

Notice that San Felice's bell tower is interwoven in its church, a relatively rare element in Venice.

Mainly for security reasons, because many campaniles have collapsed or were struck by lightning, campaniles are most often built away from their church in Venice.

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