Palazzo dell’Orologio (Palace of the Clock) is a palace in Pisa, located in Piazza dei Cavalieri, near the more famous Palazzo della Carovana and about 100 meters away from the Church of Santo Stefano dei Cavaleri.
Palazzo dell’Orologio is an ancient medieval building, where the Captain of the People (Capitano del Popolo) resided from 1357, when the palace already belonged to the Gualandi family.
When the palace was built, it incorporated the famous Torre della Muda (or della Fame – Tower of Hunger), where in 1289 the Count Ugolino Della Gherardesca, along with his sons and grandchildren, died of hunger. The profile of the tower is still recognizable to the left of the central arch, where the 20th-century four-light window opens today.
Starting with 1566, the palace housed the infirmary of the Order of the Knights of Saint Stephen. The health manager was called Bonomo, and for this reason the palace is also known as Palazzo del Bonomo.
The current appearance of the palace dates back to 1605-1608, when two neighboring buildings were joined through an arch with a clock, according to a project of Giorgio Vasari from 1554.
Between 1607 and 1609, Giovanni Stefano Marucelli and Filippo Palladini frescoed the facade of the palace and the internal vault of the arch with panoplies, grotesques and allegorical figures, to celebrate the House of Medici and the Order of Saint Stephen. The clock and the belfry date back to 1696.
In 1919, after the Order had already been suppressed, the building was bought by Count Alberto della Gherardesca, who promoted a questionable renovation in the Neo-Gothic style, with the opening of the quadrifora on the facade.
In the seventies and eighties, the building passed to Scuola Normale di Pisa, and was used as a library. Around that time, an underground passage was also built to connect it to the Palazzo della Carovana, where the school was housed.
HOW TO GET THERE
Palazzo dell’Orologio is located about 1.5 kilometers away from the Pisa Centrale railway station. The closest bus station is Pacinotti 2, on the bus Lines 2, 4, 5, 13, 21, 22, LAM Verde and Navetta E, located about 400 meters away.