Inaugurated in 1933, the complex astronomical clock of Messina, which possesses the entire bell tower, is thought to be the largest in the world.
(Continued from yesterday…) Part 2: The lower “balcony” sports rotating biblical scenes that change according to the period of the year. This time of year, on display would be the nativity with baby Jesus, including adoring shepherds who bow at the newborn king. Three other liturgical scenes include Epiphany to Easter; Easter to Pentecost; and Pentecost to Christmas.
The top of three lower windows shows the nearby Church of Montalto rising from the earth–reflecting a local legend about a dove that was prompted by the Virgin Mary. While flying, the bird mapped out the church’s architectural design that she desired to city administrators at a noontime meeting in 1294.
The window second from the bottom is the “Carousel of Age,” showing the four stages of life (childhood, youth, adulthood, and old age) supervised by a skeleton that represents death (!). The bottom window possesses a carousel that rotates to signify the day of the week. Each day, from midnight to midnight, a different pre-Christian divinity drives a chariot across the diorama.
Theodore Ungerer of Strasbourg, France designed the astronomical clock to display the strength of the human spirit.