The Venice Clock tower is one of the most unique buildings in the city, and it is certainly worth a visit. It stands over an arch in St. Mark’s Square, which is the entrance to the square from Le Mercerie – a long street where in the past you could buy anything you could imagine, and now it’s one of the best places in town for souvenirs.
The construction of the Clock Tower in Venice dates back to 1493, when the Senate decided to commission Carlo Zuan Rainieri from Reggio Emilia to create a new clock.
The thing that makes this astronomical clock unique is the machinery that regulates it, which represents the main reasons why the Venice Clock Tower is worth a visit, but it’s certainly not the only one.
During the visit, you’ll have the chance to understand how the incredible machinery of this clock works. It is made of a complicated system of gear wheels, which regulates the clock hands, the Moors on the top of the tower and the parade of wooden statues parade – the three Wise Men and the Angel with the trumpet that nowadays exit from the two little doors above the clock, followed by the statue of the Virgin Mary only on the day of Epiphany.
Originally, this parade was planned to happen every two hours, but to protect the delicate clock machinery, the frequency had to be reduced.
The clock itself is a work of art, that makes the visit to the Venice Clock Tower totally worth it. This amazing clock is composed of two rotating frames, showing hours and minutes on two different panels – which were installed in 1858, to let people read the time more easily.
The clock face shows the signs of the Zodiac and their related constellations, as well as the names of the months and the number of days. The hour hand is a longer ray connected to the shape of the sun, then in the center, there’s an inner disk with the Earth and the Moon, which rotates on its axis, showing all its phases.
On top of the Clock Tower, there are two statues representing an old and a young Moor, which symbolize time passing by.
The two Moors take their name from the color of the patina on the metal, and they are positioned on the right and left sides of the giant bell on the top of the tower. Every day at every hour, they hit the bell with their heavy hammers, as they have been doing it since the day they were installed.
Curious fact: Venetians were so jealous of their sophisticated clock, that a legend tells they blinded every man who worked for it, to avoid replicating it. If you want to know other curious and fun facts about Venice, you can read this article on our blog.
The visit is about an hour long and, unfortunately, it’s not accessible to everyone because of the narrow staircases inside the tower. Specifically, the visit is impossible for disabled people at the moment, and it’s also not recommended for those who suffer from claustrophobia, vertigo, heart conditions or respiratory diseases.
We also don’t recommend the visit to pregnant women, because of the various small spaces and the steep stairs. If you’re coming to Venice with your kids, be aware that children under 6 are not allowed, but you can purchase discounted tickets for those aged from 6 to 14 (7 euros).
A full-price ticket costs 12,00 euros and the visit must be booked in advance through the official website of the Venice Clock Tower.