Si Trova: a Messina
Lat: 38° 11' 32.33351" N - Long: 15° 33' 16.97327" E
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The bell tower of the Cathedral of Messina dates back to 1908; it is about 90 meters high; it has a magnificent animated clock, a real mechanical jewel built by the swiss.
It is considered the largest and most complex mechanical and astronomical clock in the world.
At midday a complex system of counterweights, levers and gears allows to move the statues of gilded bronze, placed in the façade facing the square.
Starting from the bottom the automata represent: the days of the week; each day is represented by a pagan deity, carried in triumph by a chariot, pulled by a different animal.
Each wagon changes at the stroke of midnight.
The ages: formed by four life-size statues depicting the stages of life: childhood, youth, maturity, old age.
Death, represented by a skeleton marks the course of life.
The scene recalls the foundation of the Church of Montalto: according to tradition in 1294 the Madonna appeared in a dream to Fra Nicola, asking him to build a church to dedicate to his name; she told him to gather the town authorities on the hill, because at noon a dove would have drawn in flight the perimeter of the church that was to be built.
So it happened, and the church was built.
At noon on the sound of the Ave Maria of Shubert, a dove draws a circle in flight, and immediately afterwards the Church of Montalto emerges from the rock.
The biblical scenes vary on the façade of the bell tower, in relation to the liturgical calendar.
The Madonna of the letter: St.
Paul and the Messina delegation pays tribute to the Madonna.
The hours and quarters are beaten by two bronze statues, 3 meters high, depicting Dina and Clarenza.
The two heroines defended the town during the Sicilian Vespers war.
At the center, between the two heroines, is the rooster.
This animal, symbol of awakening, shortly after the noon stroke beats its wings, raises its head and sings three consecutive times.
At the top of the bell tower is the lion, symbol of the Province of Messina and of strength.
The hour dials are located on the four sides of the bell tower.
The side of the bell tower that looks towards the façade of the Cathedral houses the astronomical part: from the bottom upwards appear the perpetual calendar, the planetarium and the moon.
What happened in Sicily: 23 September
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