Saint Mark’s Campanile is the bell tower of the St. Mark’s Basilica, located in the beautiful St. Mark’s Square, in Venice. The bell tower is by far the most important attraction of the city and one of the most famous symbols of Italy. SHORT HISTORY On the place where the bell tower stands today, there was a watchtower or a lighthouse built in the 9th century. The structure was remodeled in the 12th century, and again in the 14th century, during which architects from Holland and France were called to reinforce the building. The tower, already seriously damaged in 1489 by lightning, which destroyed its wooden cusp, was seriously hit by an earthquake in March 1511, making it necessary to start its consolidation. The works, initiated by the architect Giorgio Spavento, were carried out under the direction of the architect Pietro Bon, and were completed on July 6, 1513, with the placement of the gilded wooden statue of the Archangel Gabriel. Over the centuries, many interventions were made to the tower, often to repair the damage caused by lightning. Due to its height and the iron structures that reinforced it, the Campanile was a natural lightning rod. Finally, in Read more [...]
The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Torre pendente) is a tower located in the famous Piazza dei Miracoli, in Pisa. The tower is actually the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, located a few meters away. The monument, one of the most recognizable symbols of Italy, is famous around the world due to its unintended tilt. The tilt was caused by an inadequate foundation on a ground too soft to properly support the structure’s weight. SHORT HISTORY The building of the tower began on 9 August 1173. Some recent studies attribute the project to the Pisan architect Diotisalvi, who at the same time was building the Baptistery of San Giovanni. The first phase of the works was interrupted in the middle of the third floor, due to the subsidence of the land on which the bell tower stands. The softness of the soil, made up of soft clay, is the cause of the tilt of the tower and, although to a lesser extent, of all the buildings in the square. The works resumed in 1275 under the guidance of Giovanni di Simone and Giovanni Pisano, who added another three floors to the previous building. In an attempt Read more [...]
Faro di Murano is a lighthouse located in the southern area of the Murano island, in the Venetian Lagoon. SHORT HISTORY Since the time of the Venetian Republic, there has always been a lighthouse on the island. At first, it was built as a wooden tower, on whose top a fire was lit, with the light being reflected by mirrors. A first true lighthouse was built here in 1912, a metal tower on piles which was deactivated in 1934, when the current lighthouse was erected. The current lighthouse was designed and built in Istrian stone by the engineer Mario Moro. Until the 1960s, the lighthouse worked on gas, and then it was powered by electricity. Today, the ignition is automated and, like all the lighthouses in Italy, is managed by the Italian Navy. ARCHITECTURE The current lighthouse is more exposed to the lagoon than the previous one, and was surrounded by stone boulders to protect it. In the lower part, there are two bas-reliefs, depicting two Madonnas, one located above the entrance door of the lighthouse, the other on the opposite side, towards the lagoon. Black stripes were painted in the upper part, to facilitate visibility in fog. Read more [...]
Torre Truglia is a watchtower standing on a rock on the promontory of Sperlonga, built in the 16th century as part of the defense mechanism of the Tyrrhenian coast, which was designed to detect and defend against attacks from the sea. SHORT HISTORY Torre Truglia was built in 1532 on the foundation of a pre-existing Roman watchtower. Two years later, it was devastated by the Ottoman pirates of Hayreddin Barbarossa. Rebuilt in 1611, it was attacked again in 1623 by the same Turkish pirates. Between 1870 and 1969, it was used by the Guardia di Finanza. Currently, Torre Truglia belongs to the Marine Education Center of the Regional Natural Park Riviera d’Ulisse. HOW TO GET THERE Torre Truglia is about 350 meters away from the Piazza Fontana and the main bus station of the city. If you walk along the seashore, you will see it from afar.
Maurizio Tower, built in Piazza del Duomo, in Orvieto, between 1347 and 1348, is one of the oldest clock towers in Italy. Maurizio is the bronze automaton on top of the tower, which, at fixed time, swings its body and strikes the bell with its hammer. SHORT HISTORY The history of the Maurizio Tower is closely related to the history of the Orvieto Cathedral. The tower was comissioned by the Opera del Duomo, and built between 1347 and 1348, to support the worksite. The tower was built originally to be a sundial, because at the time of its construction, there was no mechanical clock available. Its role was to indicate the start and the end of the work schedule. The current clockwork mechanism dates back to the 18th century, when a countwheel was added to strike the quarters on the smaller bells. Other adjustments were made between 1860 and 1870. In 1905, the headgear of the Maurizio was replaced. On October 29, 2011, the clock tower was brought back to use, and the building has become an information point for the Duomo and the Museum System of Orvieto’s Opera del Duomo (MODO). HOW TO GET THERE Maurizio Tower Read more [...]
Torre del Moro, originally known as Torre del Papa, is a tower 47 meters high adjacent to the Palazzo dei Sette, in Orvieto. From the top of the tower, a bird eye’s view of the entire city below is unfolding in all its splendor. SHORT HISTORY The tower was built towards the end of the 13th century, at the same time with the restoration of the existing buildings and the construction of new buildings. In the 16th century, the tower was renamed Torre del Moro, after Raffaele Gualterio, known as Il Moro, who also gave his name to Palazzo Gualterio and to the entire district. In 1865, a water tank was placed in the Torre del Moro, at the height of 18 meters. One year later, in 1866, the mechanical clock and the two bells were added to the tower. One of the bells came from Torre di Sant’Andrea and the other from Palazzo del Popolo. HOW TO GET THERE The closest bus station is Piazza Duomo, right in front of the Cathedral of Orvieto, about 300 meters away from the tower or about 4 minutes on foot. To get to the tower, you must walk on Via Read more [...]
Torre Caldura (Caldura Tower) is one of the coastal watch towers in Cefalù, and the most important of them, part of the immense historical and architectural heritage of Sicily. Dating back to the 16th century, Torre Caldura is, today, in a profound state of deterioration, with portions of masonry frequently collapsing. Its profile overlooking the cliff has always characterized the image of Cefalù for those coming from the east, and is now an integral part of this landscape, depicted in many paintings and photographs. HOW TO GET THERE Torre Caldura is about 3.1 kilometers away from the Cefalù Train Station, located near the Presidiana Harbour, the main port of Cefalù.