We climb the Campanile.

Venice Travel Blog

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The Campanile

We saved the tour of the Campanile, the bell tower in St. Mark’s Square, for our last day in Venice, July 18.  We got up early, as the Campanile opened at 9 a.m., and tour groups got there early.  We filled our little wine bottle for our lunch, ooops, filled it too full, gonna have to drink some to get the cork in.  Wine for breakfast.  How Venetian.

 

The Campanile, or bell tower,  on St. Mark’s Square was a lighthouse built in the 10th century.  It survived until 1902, when it toppled into the square.  There was ominous growling the night before, and the tower collapsed the next morning.

San Giorgio Maggiore Island in the mist
  The golden angel on the top of the tower landed at the front door of St. Mark’s Basilica, standing upright!  The Campanile was rebuilt ten years later, and the golden angel replaced.

 

We arrived at the Campanile in plenty of time, we were in the first elevator-load to ascend.  Unfortunately, it was misty that morning, the ONLY morning of our whole trip when the sun wasn’t shining in all its glory.  Being in the first group up, we could access the window openings without struggling through hordes of tourists.  The views from the Campanile were stunning.

 

St. Mark’s Square is the first place in Venice to flood.  When low pressure, a full moon, and a wind from the south (called the sirocco) occur at the same time, flooding occurs, called the Aqua Alta (high water).

Storm drains in St Mark's Square
  Puddles appear around white pavement stones over the drains.  If the tide is mild, the water simply seeps up into the plaza.  If the tide is strong, the water bubbles out of the drains and flows to the lowest points in the square.  On the Campanile is a plaque that shows the high-water line from the terrible flood of 1966, caused by three days of a strong sirocco.

 

And of course, there are the pigeons.  Vendors sell food, people feed pigeons, pigeons simply flock.  They are protected by the city, but the sneaky government laces the food with contraceptives, in a rather vain (we thought) attempt to control the pigeon population.  It is curious to note that the artwork in the Doge’s Palace depicting scenes of St. Mark’s Square show no pigeons…

 

We did not get into St.

Feeding pigeons
Mark’s Basilica.  The lines were horrendous, and we had better things to do with our time than stand in lines.

 

I wanted a pix of Carol on the Rialto Bridge, so after the Campanile tour, we hopped a vaporetto to the Bridge, took our shots, then queued up to hop on a vaporetto heading down the Canal to the Public Gardens, where we planned to have lunch.  Ooops, forgot to get sandwiches … dashed off the dock, raced to the café, scored a couple of sandwiches, dashed back to the dock just in time to hop on the vaporetto.

 

The Public Gardens were lovely, lots of greenery, trees, benches.  We picked out a bench along a tree-lined mall and enjoyed a leisurely lunch, watching the other garden visitors stroll by.  Along the mall were signs with Indian names on them; of course we couldn’t translate them: Honor morte di numshim (Indian name here, like Yellow Blanket, Red Wolf) rammentare.

Lunch in the Giardini Pubblici
  I tried to get a translation on line; apparently the signs are to remind us to honor those who died of “numshim.”   Whatever numshim is.

 

We decided it was way too hot to do anything more, so we hopped a vaporetto back to St. Mark’s Square.  Carol had been reading our book on Venice, and we decided that on the way back to the hotel, we would take a short detour and check out a spiral staircase identified in the book.  Sounded interesting.  So map in hand, we entered the alleyways of Venice in search of this staircase.  And we searched, and we searched.  We were close.  According to the directions in the book, we were very close.  Did I mention the lack of street signs?  Finally, in utter exhaustion and disgust, we abandoned the search for the mythical staircase and headed back to the hotel to pack.

 

After dinner, we cruised Piazza San Marco one last time, listened to the various bands playing.  We went down to the Grand Canal, watched private yachts and cruise ships move down the Canal, caught the sunset, then wended our way back to the hotel and so to bed.  This was the first night of the whole trip that we managed to get to bed before 10:30.

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The Campanile
The Campanile
San Giorgio Maggiore Island in the…
San Giorgio Maggiore Island in th…
Storm drains in St Marks Square
Storm drains in St Mark's Square
Feeding pigeons
Feeding pigeons
Lunch in the Giardini Pubblici
Lunch in the Giardini Pubblici
Angel atop the Campanile
Angel atop the Campanile
Jewish Ghetto from the Campanile
Jewish Ghetto from the Campanile
Rooftops of Venice
Rooftops of Venice
Santa Maria della Salute
Santa Maria della Salute
High water mark of 1966 Aqua Alta
High water mark of 1966 Aqua Alta
Aqua Alta of 1966
Aqua Alta of 1966
St Marks Square, Correr Museum in…
St Mark's Square, Correr Museum i…
Former government offices, St Mark…
Former government offices, St Mar…
More pigeons feeding
More pigeons feeding
St Marks Basilica
St Mark's Basilica
Bronze horses (copies, originals i…
Bronze horses (copies, originals …
Spires of the Basilica
Spires of the Basilica
Basilica domes
Basilica domes
Carol on the Rialto Bridge
Carol on the Rialto Bridge
Ginger on the Rialto Bridge
Ginger on the Rialto Bridge
Venice
photo by: asturjimmy