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  • Writer's pictureAnnemie Reyntjens

Fontecchio - Torre dell’orologio

The medieval village of Fontecchio offers its visitors a unique blend of history, legend, tradition, and pride. In 1647, the village was attacked by Spanish troops. From the fortified castle of the Corvi family, according to certain historical sources at least, Marchioness Corvi put an end to the siege by killing the leader of the besiegers with a sledgehammer. According to the same sources, the siege lasted fifty days, while others mention ten days. However, fifty is presumably more 'interesting' from a promotional standpoint (it makes the marchioness more heroic), and that's why the clock of the 'Torre dell'orologio' in Fontecchio chimes fifty times every evening.

The clock of the Torre dell'orologio is special in that it only has one hand and operates according to the ancient Italian 'six-hour' system (in Italian: 'sistema orario a sei ore'). According to this system, the day starts with the Ave Maria when it gets dark in the evening, about half an hour after sunset, while the rest of the day is divided into four cycles, each lasting six hours. All of this, of course, born from a religious inclination. Many old buildings in Italy still have such a 'six-hour' clock, where the hand only goes around four times a day. This system also had the advantage of making the mechanism much simpler.



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