Hidden treasures

The Clock Tower in St Mark's Square

Historical Curiosities

The Clock Tower in St Mark's Square

St Mark's Square in Venice has an incredible collection of monuments that have related stories and legends of all kinds, such as the creation of the Clock Tower. Its history begins in 1493, when the governing authority decided to replace the old hammer clock in the north-western part of St. Mark's Basilica.

The task of creating a new timepiece was entrusted to a famous family of watchmakers from Reggio Emilia, the Rainiers, who created a true masterpiece of technology and engineering for the Venice Republic. The clock was so complex and delicate it was decided that a tower should be built at the entrance of Mercerie. Legend has it that when the clock was finished, the Great Council ordered Giancarlo Rainier and his father Gianpaolo to be blinded so they could never build one like that again.

The construction of the tower began in 1496 and ended in 1499, designed by Mauro Codussi, the great Renaissance architect, and was extended to the sides during the 18th century by Giorgio Massari.

The best way to admire the magnificent clock of St. Mark's Square is from the balcony of St Mark's Basilica, part of the wonderful Marciano Museum, which is visited during the tour: St Mark's Museum and Cathedral from above with venetoinside.com.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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