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Tales of Venice

The bell tower in St. Mark's Square, Venice

I consider it a technological marvel of the Renaissance in #Venice, a symbol of its technological capabilities: the clock tower is one of the most admired of #PiazzaSanMarco sights.
It was built between 1493 and 1499 on commission of the Republic of Venice, by an unknown architect who, for reasons of use of stylistic orders, historians identify in Mauro Codussi. It is certain however that the watchmaker who realised the internal mechanism was Carlo Zuan Rainier from Reggio.
The tower has undergone changes and renovations over time, the least of which in 1996.
As it is today, it is divided in four levels.On the lower floor there is an arch that is the entrance to the Mercerie, the city commercial artery linking the political heart with the commericial center of Rialto.In the second level there will be a magnificent astronomical clock showing the 24 hours of the day, the zodiac signs and the moon phases.In the third level appears a sort of digital clock from the nineteenth century, added to the precedent for more punctuality. The hours are shown in Roman numerals, while the minutes in Arabic figures. In some holidays, such as Epiphany, the mechanism is dismantled to make room for the ancient Magi's carousel surrounding the Madonna and Child.In the fourth level there is Mark's lion, that used to kneel before the figure of a doge, destroyed in Napoleonic times.Finally, at the top of the tower are the famous "Moors" mechanical bronze sculptures that, each hour, beat the bell. Although they are called Moors, these statues represent two characters dressed in animal skins, like two shepherds, with the faces of a young and an old, to represent the past and the coming hour.Every day, thousands of visitors are charmed by their rhytimc movement.
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