Basilica di San Marco
Creating Venice’s architectural wonder took nearly 800 years and one saintly barrel of lard. In AD 828, wily Venetian merchants...
The basilica’s 99m-tall tower has been rebuilt twice since its initial construction in AD 888, and Galileo Galilei found it handy for...
Opera composer Richard Wagner had the right idea: when Venice leaves you weak in the knees, get a pick-me-up at Lavena. The €1 espresso...
Piazza San Marco · interesting places nearby
Torre dell’Orologio information
The two hardest-working men in Venice stand duty on a rooftop around the clock, and wear no pants. No need to file workers' complaints: the 'Do Mori' (Two Moors) exposed to the elements atop the Torre dell'Orologio are made of bronze, and their bell-hammering mechanism runs like, well, clockwork. Below the Moors, Venice's gold-leafed 15th-century timepiece tracks lunar phases.
The clock, designed by Zuan Paolo Rainieri and his son Zuan Carlo in 1493–99, had one hitch: the clockworks required constant upkeep by a live-in clockwatcher and his family until 1998. After a nine-year renovation, the clock's works are in independent working order: 132-stroke chimes keep time in tune, moving barrels indicate minutes and hour on the world's first digital clock face (c 1753), and wooden statues of the three kings and angel emerge from side panels annually on Epiphany and the Feast of the Ascension. Tours climb steep four-storey spiral staircases past the clockworks to the roof terrace, for giddy, close-up views of the Moors in action.