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Piazza San Marco

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Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Industry Reviews [Readers] will find much to enjoy in this elegant and informative little book, which focuses on the historical and cultural center of Venice, the Piazza San Marco More Books in Architecture See All.

Piazza San Marco by Iain Fenlon, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

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The clock was created by clockmaker Gian Carlo Rainieri in Rainieri then moved into the tower and was paid to keep the clock running and accurate. When he died a number of people of varying skill levels succeeded him, and after two hundred and fifty years the clock was in bad shape.


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So in Bartolomeo Ferracina, a reknown clockmaker, was hired to refurbish the clock. The old mechanism and the original astronomical dial were given to him in part payment. The new movement, although modified, remains until the present day. It has four trains, in a peculiar cruciform pattern, one for the time, two for the hour strike by the Moors and one for the special blow strike mechanism which will be described later. On the upper floor of the tower, above the main movement, there is a separate mechanism for the Magi's carousel. Curiously, the pendulum was lengthened twice, and became long enough that it necessarily hung down into the next floor.

This meant that the temperatori, living in the tower below the clock mechanism, had the pendulum moving across his living room at all times.

Here is a picture from the s: The climb through the tower is "not recommended for pregnant women or people suffering from claustrophobia" as the stairs are narrow and get narrower as you go up. Personally, I was impressed with their very Enlightenment look: In more repairs were required, and Giovanni Doria, the temperatore of the time, made a careful survey of the necessary repairs to both building and mechanism.

While they were at it, the Venetians decided they wanted a luminous display on it so that the time could be read at night. So Luigi De Lucia appropriately named designed the two wheels that displayed lamp-lit numerals in the windows that the Magi had once come through.

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The light shone out through glass-covered cutouts in the metal wheels. When I was there, I noticed a strange whirring clunk that happened every five minutes; this was the minute wheel regulator going off, and the wheel doing its turn to the next display panel. It was quite extraordinary to be privy to this mechanism, as it's very beautiful from the inside: Note the triangular frames hanging from the ceiling.

These have small, strong metal hooks on them which are hooked onto the number-wheels, allowing them to be easily disengaged and drawn backwards into the room for those days during Ascension when the Magi are once again attached to their wheel on the floor and allowed to parade past Mary. There are two faces to the clock, both driven by the same movement: one of them, elaborate and decorative, faces the Doge's Palace and the Piazza San Marco, for the Doge to look at and presumably all the Senators and so on who ran the government from the Palace. The other one was for the regular people, who lived outside the square; this one was very simple, though still elegant.

Nowadays, the clock is driven by "weights" which are actually wheels on bicycle-type chains, pulled or lifted daily by electric motors. This was based on a decision not to rely on a temperatore to pull the weights down each day and wind the movement.


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It is the only part of the 's mechanism which has been completely modernized. I was intrigued and impressed as I followed our guide, not only because it's the kind of thing most of us dream of - living in a tower with a bunch of clockwork - but because so much of the place was designed with beauty and functionality hand-in-hand. I do love the Enlightenment and Victorian eras' penchant for lovely design! Here, for example, is the top floor, before you climb to the rooftop where the bell-ringers stand: Or this rooftop structure which tops the spiral stairs and keeps them watertight: I mean, really!

Captain Nemo, where are you??