I decided I would get in just one line and chose the Campanile (the Tower) line. I figured I could get the big picture of Venice from high up there.
Above is the Campanile with the New Procuratie (right) and manuscript depository (left) behind it. It is 323 feet tall and stands unattached to other buildings. It is 39 x39 feet square at the base.
Initial tower construction began in the 9th-century for use as a watch tower and lighthouse, and was completed in the 12th-century. There were numerous restorations over time due to earthquake damage and fires, some caused by lighting.
In July 1902, a major crack appeared in the north wall. Within just a few days, the tower and Baroque-style logia (entrance room) collapsed. Remarkably, no one was killed except the caretaker's cat. That same evening, monies were approved to reconstruct the tower in its original form, with additional reinforcement and an elevator. This work was completed in 1912.
Outside I waited in line for about 50 minutes to enter the logia. Inside was a little ticket window (I think I paid 8 euros) and a little elevator that holds maybe eight people. It gradually lifts you up to an open air belfry with a 360 degree view. And, wow, what a view!! Weather permitting you can see as far as the Alps. Not that good today, but still pretty spectacular.
In the belfry are five bells. I could not find the weight of the bells, but they are HUGE. Each bell is named and had a special purpose: one proclaimed a session of the Senate, one summoned the members to council meetings, one sounded midday, and one announced executions (Maleficio).
The largest bell, Marangona (or carpenter), marked the beginning and end of the work day. This is the only bell from the original set. The others were destroyed in the collapse. For music lovers, the bells are tuned to the scale of A. Rick Steves, famous U.S. travel guide, says they are VERY loud if you happen to be up there when they ring. I missed THAT experience!!
At the top of the tower you have a bird's eye view of all of Venice and its surrounding islands and waters. This is the Grand Canal as it enters the Adriatic Sea. Doge's Palazzo with courtyard on the lower right.
Beyond the Palazzo is more city and surrounding water. If you have a map of Venice, you can get your bearings from the location of the 139 churches in Venice or their towers. The two noticeable churches here are San Zaccaria to the right and San Giorgio dei Grece further back with two campaniles. They are on the east end of the tight-knit island cluster of Venice.
Continuing around the square is the Old Procuratie building with its ornate clock tower (dating from the 15th-century). It is an "astronomical" clock (blue circle), meaning it has special mechanisms and dials to display info such as positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets. Hard to see, but the two bronze figures on top, strike the hours on a bell. Each figure is over 8 feet tall. Behind see more city of Venice with Adriatic waters beyond that.
Looking kinda of northeast now. More city. More churches. White bell tower is Santa Maria Formosa. I think the large church behind is Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
Facing kind of southwest is the tip end of the other side of the Grand Canal and the Church of Santa Maria della Salute.
Beyond that is the island of Guidecca and the Church of the Santissimo Redentore or Church of the Most Holy Redeemer. Not sure what the little island is beyond that.
A small island east of Guidecca is San Giorgio Maggiore and its church. On the other side of the island (can't see) is the outdoor amphitheater "Teatro Verdi-Venice" that seats 1,345 people. Pictures on the web look fabulous. Oh, wish we had more time!!
To read more about this area, make a Google search for any of the places mentioned above.