Somewhere Over The Rainbow


St. Andrew’s clock tower and the clock


the most ancient clock in the world

Two days ago I went to a small city near my home town, called Chioggia. I have known it is called the “small Venice” because it has got canals, and bridges, and Venetian palaces etc. But I have never known in Chioggia there is the most ancient tower clock in the world. I literally stepped on it, and was profoundly surprised by this “discover”. What a pity that the museum was closed, so we are planning to go back there with the kids in the summer. Maybe for a short boat trip to Venice from Chioggia and back.


On February 26, 1386, the clock was already on the northwestern tower of the magistratex s municipal building; on May 31, 1839 it was given by the city to the parish of Saint Andrews on occasion of the demolition and reconstruction of the ancient city palace. The maestro Aldo Bullo, an expert in medieval contraptions, has with the patience of Job reconstructed the whole history of the clock and the watch-makers, by sifting through the cityx s historical archives. A valuable contribution was given to the valorization of this x living fossilx thanks to the efforts of Professor Ettore Pennestrì, of the Mechanics Department of the University Tor Vergata in Rome with a thesis by final year student Ana Rivero Mediavilla and Eng. Marisa Addomine, president of the Italian Registry tower Clocks. The clock was undergone some changes throughout the centuries, the most significant one being the insertion of the pendulum after Galileo; the original structure, practically unaltered, is divided into two parts: -the front part with gears which mark the time; -the back part with gears which sounds the hours. In 1424 the main clock gear underwent some repairs to repair four teeth. There is no reason to doubt that it was builts by the Dondi, great watchmakers and makers of sophistical mechanical devices (see x Astrariox , one of whose reproductions, the work of the Astrario Group of Chioggia, is found in the local City Museum); the x dog-legx placed in the last part of the four side uprights appears to be a x trade-markx which may be identified as belonging to the Dondi family.

The bell tower of Sant’Andrea, recently opened to the public, is a military construction probably dating back to the Roman or Byzantine era. The tower is approximately 30 mt. tall and presents a rare, unique clock created in the workshop of Giovanni Dondi, who also created some of the most sophisticated devices of that era.

The clock’s mechanism, which was located on the northwest tower of thehistoric Pretorio Palace until 1840, is now kept in a protective glass case, where it can also be admired. Today it is possible to visit a “vertical” museum set up on six different levels inside of the bell tower. The first floor presents the history of the tower through ancient images, in the second floor some maps of the city and the Sant’Andrea church from various historical archives from 1520 to the present, the third contains votive offerings in silver dedicated to the Madonna dell’Addolorata, a collection of pocket watches dating from 1850 to 1900 and the original stole worn by the Cardinal of Chioggia, Aristide Cavallari. The exhibit continues and arrives at the bell chamber, where you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the city of Chioggia, the Adriatic Sea and the Venetian lagoon.



Excerpt from Krista’s post “For this week’s challenge, show us something that surprised you on “the road taken.” It could be a heritage building in your city or town as seen from a new-to-you angle, a yummy meal on a road trip detour, or the penny you found on a casual stroll. (I still love to find pennies — always a small thrill!) This challenge is wide open — show us the excitement, surprise, wonder, or amazement of your “road taken.”


Inspired by WP weekly photo challenge:

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