In front of the Basilica we find that which the Venetians call the "Master of the house", moreover, the famous bell tower of San Marco. It is 97 metres high and on top is a golden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. The statue is 3 metres high and has big wings that, when pushed by the wind, make it rotate. For the Venetians, when the angel is facing the Basilica, it is a sign that there will be high water.
On the morning of 14 July 1902 the Venetians woke up without their bell tower. A sudden collapse had forever destroyed one of the iconic images of the city. On the evening of the same day, the City Council gathered out of urgency and decided that the bell tower should be reconstructed 'how it was and where it was'.
Venice could not give up on one of its dearest symbols. Historical records of its reconstruction express the profound attachment of Venetians to this monument: work soon began in 1903 and in 1912, the angel was put back in place.
No less famous than the bell tower are the 5 bells themselves: the Nona, that chimed on the ninth hour, the Marangona (from "marangon", or carpenter), that chimed in the morning and evening to mark the beginning and end of the working day, the Maleficio, that announced those condemned to death, and finally the Trottiera and the bell of the Pregadi, that called the judges and senators to their seats in the Doge's Palace.