The clock of Messina, visible on the bell tower of the cathedral, is one of the most important symbols of the city and represents a true artistic and historical jewel. It is a mechanical and astronomical clock, the largest and most complex in the world, inaugurated on 15 August 1933. It is so sophisticated and rich in elements that it has become, over time, one of the most beautiful and artistic monuments in Sicily, attracting numerous visitors.

The Messina clock

Built in the 14th century, it comes to life at sharp midday, every day of the week, offering an extraordinary spectacle. With the musical background ofAve Maria of Schubert, 54 mechanical bronze sculptural figures move, positioned in carousels on several levels of the bell tower.

Mythological and religious figures

The Messina clock is a true masterpiece. It consists of a circular dial with Roman numerals that indicates the hours, and a system of bells that ring every quarter of an hour. The movement of the hands is controlled by a complex internal mechanism that ensures the precision of time.

The clock of Messina, lion

One of the most evocative elements of the Messina clock is its mechanism of automatons, which represent mythological and religious figures that move with each ring of the bells. On the fourth floor there is a roaring lion, which shakes its tail and head while waving the flag, symbol of the strength and courage of the people of Messina. On the third floor, a rooster spreads its wings and crows. On the sides there are statues of Dina and Clarenza, two heroines of the Vespers of 1282. On the same floor there is a group of figures including Mary of Nazareth.

tower and cathedral

On the second floor four biblical scenes are depicted: the Nativity, the Magi, the Resurrection and Pentecost. The most important event in the religious history of Messina is represented here by Saint Paul and the Messina ambassadors parading in front of the Madonna of the Letter, patroness of the city. On the first floor the four ages of man alternate: childhood, adolescence, maturity, senility.

Astronomical mechanisms

In the picture below of the Messina clock the days of the week are symbolized in seven chariots led by Apollo, Diana, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. On the side façade, facing east, are the astronomical mechanisms. At the top there is the two-tone sphere, which depicts the half-white and half-black phases of the moon. Below, the planetarium reproduces the solar system and the zodiac. On the lower level, the perpetual calendar, with the statue of the angel on the left, indicates the constantly updated day and month of the year with an arrow.


Witness the history of the city

The bell tower with the mechanical clock was rebuilt during the city's rebirth, after the earthquake of 1908. It was commissioned byArchbishop Angelo Paino to the company Ungerer of Strasbourg, who built it based on the architect's drawings Valenti, in just three years, equipping it with eight enormous bells. The bell tower, 60 meters high, was subjected to numerous restoration interventions over the centuries.

The clock and the cathedral

The first important one, a real reconstruction designed by the architect Andrea Calamech, took place in the second half of the 16th century. Today it is one of the most visited places in Messina and represents an important testimony to the history and culture of the city. His beauty and precision continue to amaze and excite anyone lucky enough to admire him live.

(Photo: Municipality of Messina, Facebook page)

The Messina clock, a masterpiece of mechanical engineering last edit: 2024-04-11T07:02:00+02:00 da Antonietta Malito

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