|Rob and Tom in St. Mark's Square|
WHAT IS IN ST. MARK'S SQUARE/PIAZZA SAN MARCO? - This is the main public square of Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as "the Piazza". All other urban spaces in the city are called "campi." In this square, you'll find the famous buildings of
1) The Campanile (Tower)
2) Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica);
3) Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace)
4) Torre dell'Orologio (Clock Tower);
5) Piazzetta (marked by two large columns where people come in by boat);
6) The Old Library (Libreria Sansovinian) where we found Cafe Florian (from 1720)
|St. Mark's Square: Campanile Tower (right)|
HISTORY OF THE CAMPANILE (TOWER)
Today we'll explore the history of the tower called "Campanile." It's a tall brick bell tower for the basilica (of St. Mark's which we'll talk about in the next blog). The Tower is in the corner of the "arcaded Procuratie Nuove."
BUILT- Construction on the tower started in the 10th century and it was finished in the 12th century. That's a long time to construct a tower! The pointed roof and golden top were not added until the 15th century.
COLLAPSED AND REBUILT - On July 14, 1902, the Campanile collapsed into the piazza into a pile of rubble, but didn't kill anyone according to historical records. Ten Years Later- By 1912, it had rebuilt to its original 98.6-meter height, as was the Loggetta, a small marble loggia built by Sansovino between 1537 and 1540 for the members of the Great Council to assemble before going into the sessions. After the campanile rubble was cleared, it was possible to rebuild the Loggetta using the original stones and sculptures, including Sansovino's four bronze masterpieces that stand between the twin columns.
USES- PRISON AND BEACON - The campanile is so tall that it was used by approaching ships as a beacon to guide them home. However, it also had a darker purpose. In the Middle Ages,it was used as a a place where wrongdoers were confined in a cage that was lifted half-way up the tower. The punishment could last for several weeks.
NEXT: Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark's Basilica)
Credit for information: http://www.planetware.com/venice/st-marks-square-i-vn-vpsm.htm