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The Campanile Bell Tower of Santa Maria Formosa in Venice

Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Bell Tower
Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower is
40 metres high.

This beautiful bell tower dominates a vast square called Campo Santa Maria Formosa.

Without it, the place would certainly not have the same appeal.

We have known it for years, but every time we arrive at Campo Santa Maria Formosa by Ponte Borgoloco and the setting sun roses it, we even stop to admire it.

This all-pink bell tower, witch top looks like a cake with meringues and whipped cream, stands near the church of Santa Maria Formosa.


Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Bell Tower
Let's admire this baroque bell tower that gives charm to the gorgeous Campo Santa Maria Formosa.

The Campanile of Santa Maria Formosa is not very high, barely about forty metres.

It is of Baroque style. Although the project of its construction dates from 1611, it was not built until much later, between 1678 and 1688.

Its architect was Fra Francesco Zucconi; Brother Francis Zucconi was a clergyman.

This bell tower is truly very original in its design: a balanced tower with geometric shapes surmounted by a baroque spire whose decorative elements are heads fully integrated into the structure of the spire.

Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Bell Tower
The spire is crowned with chubby heads representing the winds that blow in all directions.

Seeing these heads from afar, without being able to discern them, one can imagine meringues with whipped cream, as we said above.

Others, more religious or spiritual, have suggested that it be reminiscent of a lit candle along which the wax would have flowed and cooled by forming growths.

The Mascherone

Above the tiny front door of the bell tower, in front of the Rio, you will discover a grotesque face, a “Mascherone” whose function was apotropaic, meaning that this deformed figure was destined to ward off evil influences!

Mascherone of Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Mascherone
We do not know if it still works; in any case, it does not scare tourists delighted to contemplate it.

It should also be known that in the seventeenth century, it was common to use this type of deformed figure on the access doors to the bell towers to prevent evil spirits from approaching the bells that had an essential role in the life of a city.

The British John Ruskin, famous for his work on Venetian Gothic architecture, described it as an enormous, inhuman, monstrous head, with a beastly and askew gaze, too horrible to be portrayed or described or even to look at it for more than a moment.

Yet the British like ghosts and other Loch Ness monsters, but John Ruskin did not seem to be a fantasy lover.

Mascherone of Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Mascherone
Nowadays, our dear little ones love the monsters present in video games and others.

They are often much more horrible than the “Mascherone” of the Campanile of Santa Maria Formosa, which seems relatively innocent in its role as a scarecrow of demons!

In 1855, from the top of the bell tower of Saint-Marc, Théophile Gautier saw the bell tower of Santa Maria Formosa as a white spire in the middle of an ocean of roofs and red bricks.

Mascherone of Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Mascherone
This very pink bell tower, passing for a white spire, surprised us; then we thought that the pink colour we see on the sides of the bell tower must undoubtedly be later than the time of Theophile Gautier.

We wanted to check and went to the top of the Campanile of Saint Mark; Theophile Gautier was right.

From here, the bell tower of Santa Maria Formosa appeared almost all white in contrast to its surroundings!

Whether it is pink up close and white from afar, the important thing is that this bell tower is beautiful and elegant, like a newlywed next to its church, Santa Maria Formosa.

“Formosa” means lovely, beautiful and ample.

If you pass by Campo Santa Maria Formosa, take your time, look at it carefully because it is unique, and don't forget to greet its poor “Mascherone”, who still tries to scare demons and protect the Venetians.

Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Bell Tower
Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Bell Tower
Santa Maria Formosa Bell Tower Campanile in Venice Italy
SM Formosa Bell Tower

Bell Towers Saint-Mark | Greci | St.Giorgio | Formosa | Stefano | Felice |


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