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21/09/2006

The restoration of the clock tower in Venice

An element of continuity and relief amongst the great variety of the buildings in Saint Mark’s Square, the Clock Tower that has ticked the hours away in the city for over 500 years (it was built in 1499) has finally been restored to Venice thanks to the skilful and detailed restoration of its structural and decorative elements as well as the sophisticated clock mechanics. A simple example of Renaissance architecture designed by Mauro Codussi, the façade of this beautiful building is decorated with an impressive astronomic clock that is a masterpiece of both technique and engineering. On the dial the movements of the hour, the moon phases and zodiac signs are shown with enamels and gilding. Just twice a year – for Epiphany and the Ascension – the procession of the statues of the three Kings led by an angel can be seen thanks to its extremely sophisticated mechanism. At the top of the tower, once an hour the bronze statues of two huge moors strike the bell. Clearly visible from the waters of the Basin and a symbol of the entire city, the Clock Tower looks down on Saint Mark’s Square, marking the prelude to the entrance of the magical heart of Venice

(from Chiara Romanelli)
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