Wonder  }  Village

Monselice and the Civic or Clock Tower

Just climb a few steps to greet Martino and enjoy the scenery

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Where is

Veneto Mazzini, 15, 35043 Monselice PD, Italia (12m s.l.m.)


What it is and where it is

Monselice has a center full of points of interest. The square where the civic tower stands, for example, is located at the foot of the Rocca mountain, and is the area that developed in the 13th century. This is precisely the square that is also overlooked by the Monte di Pietà loggia and, just beyond it, the Marcello Cini Castle. The tower is located along the 14th-century walls. From its height of about 28 meters, it stands as a guardian, but it knows how to be gentle, and offers those who manage to reach its top, an admirable view of the surroundings.

Why it is special

What characterizes Monselice's civic tower is a noteworthy clock. It is the only ancient clock still working by hand crank and not by electronic systems. This means that every day a person in charge has to climb the 3 floors of the tower to reload the mechanism that will be activated by its weight systems. It is also one of the few to strike the quarter-hour and not just the half-hour.

Not to be missed

In the Middle Ages Monselice was the strategic point of defense from various aggressors in the Euganean Hills territory. Climbing the tower on a clear day you can identify with the ancient guardians, trying to push your gaze as far as possible, scanning the surroundings, playing at recognizing strategic points to defend. Be sure, however, before descending, it is good to awaken from the dream and politely greet the queens of the landscape: the two peaks of Monte Castello and Monte Ricco, which rise close together and one can make out their buildings, while further away one can see the roads and mountains towards Baone and Este.

A bit of history

The origin of its construction is not certain, but it may date back to the 13th century, during Ezzelino da Romano's occupation of the fort, or under the control of the Dalla Scala family. In the 16th century the tower reached its present height and the bell that still rings today was placed. The tower overcame the demolitions of the Habsburg period because of its civic function, and it also overcame the various war events of the 20th century, reaching us intact down to its metal mechanisms. Credit is partly due to Vittorio Cini: we owe it to his patient mediation that the bell was not melted down during World War II!


"My name is Martino and I have such a melodious sound that I hope God will preserve it for me" this is the wish written in 1482 on the bell. But the date of the engraving and the date of the bell's placement on the tower do not match, so this sacred bronze was not originally built for the tower where it is now. How did it get here? We are told by a legend that starts from the Candian War, when the community of Monselice ceded the land on which the town of Pozzonovo now stands for a good price. The new owner is so pleased with the deal that he adds a gift to the payment: the Martino bell.

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Recommended by
Anna Maria Baraldo

Thinking of Monselice often brings to mind the Seven Little Churches, the Castle, Villa Duodo and the Mastio, but instead in one of the busiest spots there is a gem that few consider in the daily fast walk, and she gives us new perspectives.


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