The tower was built in the first half of the 14th century, as a fortified entrance to the Carrarese Royal Palace, owned by the noble family of da Carrara, Lords of Padua.
However, its current appearance is due to the works began 1426 at the behest of the Captain Bartolomeo Morosini, concluded with the inauguration of the clock on the Feast of Saint Anthony from 1437.
The astronomical clock that dominates the square is the oldest mechanism of its kind in the world. It is actually a reconstruction from 1436 of the clock built by Jacopo Dondi in 1344, and placed on the tower of the southern gate of the Carrarese Palace. The clock is the work of Matteo Novello and Giovanni and Gian Pietro delle Caldiere.
In 1531, the nobleman Vitale Lando comissioned the large triumphal arch located at the base of the tower to the architect Giovanni Maria Falconetto.
In June 2010, the monument undergone a careful restoration work that affected both the architectural structure of the tower and the mechanisms of the clock.
The tower has five floors, of which the first three were intended to contain the parts of the clock mechanism, and the other two constituted the residence of the master watchmaker and custodian.
The clock has a circular shape, with the planet Earth at its center. On the outer band, there are engraved the hours in Roman characters, while the middle band is decorated by copper stars. In the third band, there are the zodiac signs. The framing, characterized by Ionic pilasters, is also the work of Giovanni Maria Falconetto.
On the entablature of the triumphal arch, on each side of the clock, there are two statues depicting two armed men holding the coat of arms of Andrea Gritti, Doge of the Republic of Venice in the first half of the 16th century. On the side of the arch, some inscriptions recall Vitale Lando and the architect Giovanni Maria Falconetto.
TIP: The attentive observer will see that there are only 11 zodiac symbols on the clock – the Scorpio, in fact, occupies two boxes, and the Libra is missing. A popular legend tells that Jacopo Dondi, the watchmaker, decided to remove the sign of the balance, because he was unhappy with the payment received for his effort.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Clock Tower is located about 1.4 kilometers from the Padua railway station. The closest bus stop is Duomo, located about 140 meters away, in Piazza Duomo, on the bus Line U02.