The largest bell in the San Marco campanile â€” there are five, and they each have a name â€” is called la Marangona. There is certainly no mistaking that superb, resonant, all-encompassing BONG, in distinct contrast to the chorus of energetic chiming from around the rest of the city at any appointed time. This largest one rang out in the past to time the work-day, the smallest to annouce an execution. (It’s been while, yes.)
At midnight, that massive bell resounds da sola, proudly, from high in the Piazza, and can be heard from almost any point in the city. Sometimes I call friends in the US so they can hear, especially the ones who’ve been here before. I just open the window and stick the phone out in to the calle. Che nostalgia.
If you’re out and about with a Venetian and the bell sounds, Aaaa, they’ll say with a glance and a nod, La senti? Ãˆ la Marangona. If you allow it, you’ll be reminded just how often, on how many midnights, and for how many centuries, this small scene has been repeated.)