The hidden past of Venice
There are many secrets that pervade Venice, a city so ancient and magical, that seems the place to find ghosts, especially in the evening when the silence is broken only by the lapping water.
Amid the mass of tourists who flock Piazza San Marco and the beautiful surrounding buildings, no one would think that among these buildings so tastefully decorated, these artistically beautiful place you can still feel the presence and the memories of so many people who were executed here , next to a column of Palazzo Ducale. Instead, before two other columns, which have a color different from the others, were read the sentences which were then executed immediately before the first two columns. This ritual meant that the prisoner was forced to look directly at the clock on the bell tower, so he knew exactly the time of his death, after which he was executed.
In fact, there was a small chance of escape, but was so faint that no one has ever succeeded. In fact they had to make a complete circle around the base of a column of the palace, without falling. We can still see how this base is worn and slippery, thus making it virtually impossible to circle it around without falling. Most of the condemned executed in this manner were accused of heresy by the Inquisition.
Another terrible way to execute the condemned was hanging them inside an iron cage (the gheba, a vernacular term that still means jail) which was left dangling from the bell tower, located next to the Palazzo Ducale. The bell tower, built around the ninth century, could be friend or enemy of the Venetians, depending on their situation, and further imploded in itself, but falling down a corner was fortunately intact. From this angle was then fortunately possible to reconstruct the Loggia of Sansovino and then the tower itself, as we see it now. The bell tower is now 100 meters high, topped with a golden statue of the Archangel Gabriel, ten feet high. A very impressive building in its entirety. The statue is mobile, then turn depending on the direction from which the wind blows. According to the Venetian, where the statue turns to look at the Basilica means that there will be the high water.
Another legend says that Emperor Frederick III of Hapsburg, annoyed at having to climb so many stairs to reach the Hall of the Grand Council for a reception, he climbed with his horse on the spiral staircase to the top of the tower to prove his superiority, a task never managed to others.
Galileo Galilei during his stay in Venice used the steeple as observatory, and still there in 1609 presented his telescope to the Seigniory.
The bell tower houses a total of five bells: the Maleficio (curse) which accompanied tolling a death sentence, the Nona (Ninth), because it marks the hours, and Trottiera, that of Pregadi, who called the magistrates and the Senators in the meetings in the Palazzo Ducale, and last the Marangona (carpenter), the only one that was saved from collapse. Marked the beginning and end of working for the carpenters, but mainly it was the only one that marked the twelve strokes of midnight.
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