The civic tower of Asolo
A vantage point on Asolo and its surroundings
What it is and where it is
Asolo is such a beautiful village that one always returns there willingly, and each time it is impossible not to lay one's eyes on the mighty civic tower: tall, wide and solid, it seems to watch over the surrounding buildings. Yet it is not awe-inspiring thanks to the arches of the bell loggia and the large clock with an 18th-century dial, which soften the structure, making the tower more like an older sister than a sentinel. And come to think of it-doesn't it make you want to climb to the top?
Because it's special
When you get to the top of the Civic or Clock Tower, you find yourself admiring a bird's eye view of the entire town of Asolo, a tranquil sailor of the sea of green waves formed by the Berici Hills, Euganean Hills, the Grappa foothills and Mount Pasubio. And then the eye goes even further, where the waves turn blue in the Lagoon of Venice. It is an incredible view from here, and between one sigh of wonder and another of peace you can understand why Carducci spoke of the 100 horizons of Asolo!
Not to be missed
To get to the top, however, you have to climb the different floors of the tower, and even here, there is no shortage of surprises. It is interesting to observe the clock mechanism, the weights that allowed its movement, and traces of its operation. In fact, if on your way up you had noticed holes in the floor, now you are about to discover that they were used to pass the ropes that allowed the gears to move. You can also see the axle that supports the pendulum, made of wood (metal, in fact, could stretch due to temperature changes changing the oscillation of the pendulum and thus getting the time wrong).
A bit of history
The Civic or Clock Tower dates back to the 10th century, initially made of wood then stone, and was part of the Asolo Castle. Over time there were several remodeling and restoration works, but unfortunately we have few sources about it. What is certain is that the tower was devastated by an earthquake in 1695 but was later rebuilt, becoming one of the symbols of the village. Its function changed several times over time. In 1917 it was even used as a prison for Austro-Hungarians captured by the French. One hundred years later, however, the ancient building was officially opened to the public.
The interior spaces of the tower have been reclaimed as exhibition space. One of the very first exhibitions held here, through photographs and graffiti on the walls recounted precisely the period of World War I and the tower as a prison. The very graffiti on the walls can still be seen in the tower's entrance: protected by glass, one can see names, caricatures, dates, desperate memories of a tragic time.
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