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Basilica di San Marco

The Basilica's bell tower, also known as the Campanile di San Marco, can be reached by an elevator ride inside the church. It is the highest structure in the whole of Venice, towering at 97 meters, or about 324 feet, and gives one a magnificent view of the basilica's cupolas. You will also be given a bird's eye view of the nearby islands, the lagoon, and the various rooftops and domes of Venice's various structures.

The tower consists of a brick shaft, an observation deck, a section where the five bells can be found, a pyramidal spire, and a golden angel weathervane at the top.

Before the campanile, a watchtower was built in the current location of the tower, serving as a military lookout for impending enemies. With the additions and reconstructions on the tower, the bronze-sheathed roof started catching the sun's rays, and eventually, it also became a beacon for mariners.

The campanile was originally built during the 9th century, but was rebuilt during the 12th, 14th, and 16th centuries, when Jacopo Sansovino added the marble loggia at its base. Unfortunately, the tower collapsed in 1902 for unknown reasons, but thankfully, no one was hurt but a single cat. The people of Venice then worked to rebuild it as it used to be, using the materials from the fallen tower itself. One of the five historical bells was also spared from the crash, and is still in use to this day. The tower reopened in April 25, 1912, St. Mark's Day, 1,000 years after the original foundations of the campanile were laid.

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