The moors and the bell
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
St Mark's Clocktower is a clock tower situated on St Mark's Square in Venice, adjoining the Procuratie Vecchie. It houses the most important clock in the city, St Mark's Clock (alternatively known as the Torre dell'Orologio or the Moors' Clocktower).
It was constructed as a display of Venice's wealth, and as an aid to sailors on the Grand Canal about to depart on a voyage.
The building was designed by Mauro Codussi and constructed between 1496 and 1499. It has five bays, of which the central bay is the widest. This bay incorporates a two-storey gateway, with the large clock face above, topped by a single storey tower with a depiction of a Lion of St Mark against the night sky, while two blackened bronze figures intended as giants but known as the "Moors" stand on top and ring a bell on the hour.