Listening to the bells of San Marco

The bell tower of San Marco is one of the most famous bell towers in the world. However, the story and the meaning of its bells into the daily life of Venice is not very well known: there is the Marangona bell, which used to mark the working hours at the Arsenale, the Pregadi which used to announced the meetings of the Senate… Come into the San Marco bell tower with us and get to know them better!

The history of the San Marco bell tower begins in the IX century as a sighting tower. Its current architecture, however, dates back to the late 1400s, when some documents indicated the presence of six bells, which had been restored by Pope Pius X after the earthquake of the 1902.

Every bell has a specific name and tone. There is the Marangona, who plays in LA, whose chimes used to announce the beginning and the end of the working hours of the marangoni, the carpenters of the Arsenale. The Nona, or Mezzana, used to indicate the deadline for sending mail to Rialto and also midday. The Trottiera, on the other hand, used to give the last notice to the Venetian nobles who had to attend to the meetings of the Grand Consiglio, while the Pegadi used to announce the meetings of the Senato. But there was also the bell announcing the capital executions: this was the Renghiera (from ‘renga’, which means harangue) that was also called the bell of the Maleficio or the Giustiziati.

Until 1722, the five bells were also supported by the Campanone di Candia, which played along with the others: this one, however, fell into pieces and was never restored. You can listen to the bells every day, but if you want to listen to them all together while composing the so-called Plenum, you have to wait for the major liturgical events or anniversaries.

The bell tower of San Marco is worth a visit which can be planned by looking at the San Marco website: as you will see, the tickets are not very expensive and the opening hours are quite flexible!

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