St Mark's Square
Hotel Wildner is located only a stone's throw away from St Mark's Square. We would like to share some curiosities that may not be read in all guidebooks...
The collapse of San Mark’s bell tower.
On July 14th, 1907, San Mark’s bell tower collapsed on itself, luckily without causing casualties. The bell tower used to function as a sight tower and a lighthouse, and was lovingly called by the Venetians "El paron de casa" (the landlord).
The legend says that the statue of the angel on top of the tower remained intact, and fell on the steps of the Basilica without causing any damage. The ruins of the bell tower were thrown into the sea by the Venetians with a function similar to a funeral.
The two red columns of the Doge’s Palace
The ninth and tenth columns of the first floor of the Doge’s Palace are red since the Doge used to look at the ceremonies and performances that took place in the Piazza from there. It is also the place where he used to announce the death sentences.
The damned column
Long ago the colonnade of the Doge’s Palace used to end directly in the lagoon. The legend says that some of the death sentenced were offed the chance to save their lives with a cruel challenge… by passing the third column of the palace from side to side without falling in the water. The task was practically impossible, because the base was very narrow and slippery. Now that there is a pavement, you can try the challenge yourself, without the risk of falling in the water.
The columns of San Teodoro and San Marco
At the top of the columns you can see the statues of San Teodoro, the protector of Venice, and the lion with wings, symbol of San Marco. These were taken from Constantinople by Commander Jacopo Orseolo Falier returning from the Second Crusade, as a gift for the doge and symbol of Venice. The columns should have been three, one to support the doge’s statue, but during the landing it sank and was never recovered. The engineer Niccolò Brattier was managed to erect the two columns with a system of wet ropes. In return, it is said that he obtained the privatization of gambling in the space between the two columns, enriching enormously.
In medieval times, the sentenced to death were executed and hanged between the two colomuns. From here the Venetian say “I’m going to show you what time it is", because the last thing the convicts saw was the clock tower.
The two lights on the Doge’s Palace
On the southwest side of the Doge’s Palace at night you can see two small lights. They are there to remind one of the few Serenissima judicial errors that brought an innocent man - the baker Piero Tasca (tortured to false confession) - to be sentenced to death on March 22, 1507.