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Visit Venice

Torre dell'Orologio

 

This is the clock tower on Saint Mark's Square, The tower is also known as St. Mark's Clocktower and the Moors' Clocktower. The clock was made by Gian Paolo and Gian Carlo Ranieri and the tower design is attributed to Mauro Codussi. The clock and tower were inaugurated in 1499. The clock tower was an essential tool for merchants arriving in the city by water as they could see the clock tower from the water. The tower stands at the historic central point of the city - politically, religiously, commercially and financially.

The square tower has two figures, thought to be Moors, which are joined in the middle and strike the bell on the hour. One figure is young and one is old to show the passing of time. The clock tower bell was cast in Arsenal and dates back to 1497. Beneath the top terrace is a cobalt background darted with stars, in front of the background stands the figure of the winged lion of Venice and an open book. On the next level down an open balcony niche contains statues of Mary and Child made out copper. On either side of the balcony gallery are the hour in Roman numbers and the minutes in Arabic numbers. The large round blue and gold clock face is below this within a marble circle marked with the twenty-four hours in Roman numerals. The large blue faced clock shows the time, the month's zodiac sign and present phase of the moon. The Merceria, the city's main street runs beneath a high arch which is formed on the bottom two floors of the tower.

Visitors can take a tour of the tower and climb to the upper terrace on an internal stairway which passes the clock mechanism.
 

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