Italy Torre dell'Orologio

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Sue Wolfe

About this spot
The Torre dell’Orologio was added to the Palazzo D’Accursio in 1444. With the installation of the first clock, a bell rang every hour which provided a reference point for all clocks in Bologna. The clock also indicated the phases of the moon, solar rotation, and signs of the zodiac. On the hour a carousel featuring the Three Magi and an angel passed and bowed in front of the statue of the Madonna with Child. You can now see these figures in the Collezioni Comunali d’Art located in the ceremonial halls of Palazzo d’Accursio.

The face of the clock is 6.4 meters wide, one of the largest in Italy. The tower had to be raised 10 meters to accommodate the clock’s size.

Bell ringing is a tradition in Bologna. A small bell “concert” has at least 4 bells of different sizes and pitches tuned to a major chord. The Torre dell’Orologio’s bell concert contains 5 bells with different sounds: the piccola (din), the quarta (high den), the mezzanella (den), the mezzana (dan), and the grossa (don). The bronze bells were cast at the Brighenti foundry which was in business until 1958.

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