Certainly few people know that the bell tower of Messina cathedral houses one of the largest astronomical and mechanical clocks in the world.

Every day at noon, the Cathedral square of Messina is full of curious people who looks up towards the Bell Tower.

But what happens? What are they looking at?

Messina cathedral bell tower
Astronomical clock
Inside the bell Tower
Catheral of Messina

Firstly, the two heroines of Messina, Dina and Clarenza, ring the bells and, from that moment, almost all the statues move accompanied by the Ave Maria of Schubert.

So the lion roars, the rooster crows, the scenes of the liturgical moment of the moment move and, finally, here the tradition of the patron saint of the city is represented: Our Lady of the Letter. And that’s not all…

This spectacle takes place every day at midday and lasts about 10 minutes. It contains the religious and civil history of the city of Messina, thanks to its about 55 statues and numerous gears.

Here’s a little taste:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqTN–pwAsI

The bell tower of Messina: the carousel of the age

Among the various scenes, the one that moves every fifteen minutes and especially the one that creates curiosity, is the carousel of ages. There are 4 life-size statues depicting the stages of life:

  • A child, the childhood;
  • Youth represented by a young man ;
  • A soldier, maturity;
  • An old man, old age.

While in the middle a skeleton symbolises the death and marks the passing of time as well as our lives.

Why does the bell tower of Messina keep this complicated apparatus?

Archibishop Paino knew of the existence of the clock of the Cathedral of Strasbourg in France. Then through one of his co-workers, he asked the firm Ungerer to reproduce a similar apparatus in the Bell Tower of Messina.

So, the Ungerer brothers came to Messina, and they worked from 1930 to 1933 on the creation of this mechanical and astronomical device. As a result, every day hundreds of people, at the stroke of noon, raise their heads and do not take their eyes off the clock tower.

But, why a lion? And where is the astronomical part ? You will certainly be curious to see the complete show. Come to Messina and I will reveal you the secrets of this fantastic clock!

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