This is the premier clocktower in Venice. It faces the Piazza San Marco, near the cathedral. Its arch forms a gate, the most important on the great square, which completes the closure of the square, except for the vista out over the water (in the opposite direction).
Somehow, it seems that vistas over water do not really violate the enclosure of a space. It may simply be that the human fascination with water is stronger than the urge for protective enclosure. Of course, water itself serves as a form of protection, one upon which the Venetian Republic successfully relied. In the case of Piazza San Marco, the water view is partially closed by an island in the middle distance.
The clock shows not only the time but also the phases of the moon and zodiac. This information was not just for show - it was needed in the planning of maritime affairs, particularly forecasting the state of the tides. The clock must have cost a fortune when built, more than 500 years ago.
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