The Bissara Tower in Piazza dei SignoriHistorical Curiosities
The Bissara Tower in Piazza dei Signori
One of the most evocative places in Vicenza is certainly Piazza dei Signori, overlooked by the famous Basilica Palladiana, the work of one of the greatest architects of all time.
Next to it you can admire a spectacular medieval tower, the Bissara Tower, 82 meters high and built in 1174 at the behest of the Bissari family, next to their palace. Between 1211 and 1229 the municipality of Vicenza bought both the building (with the intention of making it the seat of the town ruler) and the tower, which in the mid-fifteenth century was raised to reach the current height. Relics of saints and the five bells were transferred inside it.
The history of the city is described in its stones: on top there is a headless statue of the goddess Athena from the Roman era; almost at the top there is the marble bas-relief of the Lion of St Mark’s, symbol of the dominion of the Serenissima; at the base is a triumphal arch with the war memorial and, finally, the top of the tower was rebuilt after an Anglo-American bombardment, which hit the tower and set it on fire.
In addition to the normal striking of the hours and half hours, the bells also ring the ninth hour with a particular melody composed by Maestro Valtinoni which can be heard for seven minutes before noon and seven minutes before six o’clock in the afternoon (originally instead of 18:00 it rang at 24).
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