Venice Clock Tower
The Moors' Clock Tower is one of the most famous architectural landmarks in Venice, standing over an arch that leads into what is the main shopping street of the city, the old Merceria.
The Tower and its large Astronomical Clock, a masterpiece of technology and engineering, form an essential part of the very image of Venice. For more than five hundred years, they have measured out the flow of life and history within the city.
Covering all five floors of the Tower, these these have to be booked in advance; visitors are accompanied by an expert guide.
A first small flight of stone steps leads up to a little room in which the history of the Tower is explained. From here one can see the interesting network of pulleys, weights and counterweights as they silently rise and fall at regular intervals. A metal spiral staircase then takes one towards the complex workings of the clock proper; visitors get a close view of the mechanism and of the gears linking it with the south and north clock faces, overlooking St. Mark's Square and the Mercerie respectively. A further staircase then leads up to the next floor, where one can see the wooden statues of the Magi and the Angel as well as the two ornate doors from which these statues emerge in procession twice a year (on the feasts of the Epiphany and the Ascension).
Here visitors can also see inside the mechanism of the clock barrels which indicate the hours and the minutes. Going even higher in the Tower one comes to a room which holds components from the fifteenth-century clock mechanism. From here one can go out onto the two side terraces and, via a steep spiral staircase, up to the Two Moors Terrace, where one not only gets a close glimpse of the two colossal statues but also a splendid view of Venice and its lagoon.
More from Venice (Venezia)