Clock Tower

 

in short

The Clock Tower is one of the most famous architectural landmarks in Venice. The Tower and its large Astronomical Clock, a masterpiece of technology and engineering, form an essential part of the very image of Venice.
Torre dell’Orologio di Venezia, Facciata su Piazza San Marco
© Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
Logo: Clock Tower

Clock Tower

in detail

The Clock Tower marks both a juncture and a division between the various architectural components of St. Mark’s Square, which was not only the seat of political and religious power but also a public space and an area of economic activity, a zone that looked out towards the sea and also played a functional role as a hub for the entire layout of the city.
A metal spiral staircase takes visitors towards the complex workings of the clock proper, getting 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 visitors 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 visitors come to a room which holds components from the 15th century clock mechanism. From here they can go out onto the two side terraces and up to the Two Moors Terrace, getting a close glimpse of the two colossal statues but also a splendid view of Venice and its lagoon.
Venice Clock Tower
The 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. It was 1493 when the Senate commissioned Zuan Carlo Rainieri of Reggio Emilia to create a new clock, but the decision that this was to be erected over “the entrance to the Merceria” only came two years later. From the archway at ground level, the vertical structure rises on a rectangular base of around 9 x 6metre through a quadruple series of scaled architectural orders to a terrace with the statues of the Moors. Following rulings handed down in 1500, and reiterated in 1503, the two side wings to the tower – culminating in two balustraded terraces – were built over the next five years. In the mid 18th century Giorgio Massari raised the side wings above the terraces and added new balustrades; at the same time eight columns were added, reducing the light through the trabeation at ground level (this addition was almost certainly not the work of Tommaso Temanza, as is often claimed, but of a lesser-known architect, Andrea Camerata). The work on the interior of the structure that was carried out in the nineteenth century (at the same time as that on the mechanism of the clock itself) was much more drastic: the wooden stairs were torn out and replaced with spiral staircases in metal, and the roofing of larch and lead sheeting was replaced with brick vaults and marble slabs (even the statues of the Moors were raised about a metre above their original level).
Admission
Full price: 12,00 eur. Reduced: 7,00 eur. The ticket includes the booking fee and expert guide. Holders of the ticket for the Clock Tower get free admission to the Museo Correr, the Museo Archeologico Nazionale and the Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Marciana.
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keywords

Visitor entrance

Venice Clock Tower
Piazza San Marco
30124 Venice
Italy
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Opening Times

Sun
10:00 - 16:00
Mon
10:00 - 16:00
Tue
10:00 - 16:00
Wed
10:00 - 16:00
Thu
10:00 - 16:00
Fri
10:00 - 16:00
Sat
10:00 - 16:00
Visits only upon prior booking, with specialized guide. Visit in Italian all days at 12am and 16pm. Visit in English Monday to Wednesday at 10am and 11am, Thursday to Sunday at 2pm and 3pm. Visit in French Tuesday and Wednesday 2pm and 3pm, Thursday to Sunday 10am and 11am. Closed on December 25th, January 1st and May 1st

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