The Bell Tower of the Cathedral of Messina

The bell tower of the Cathedral of Messina contains the biggest and most complex mechanical and astronomical clock in the world. Designed by the firm Ungerer of Strasbourg it was inaugurated in 1933 and is the city’s main attraction even today.

At noon a complex system of counterweights, leverages and gears, determines the movement of the gilded bronze statues located in the façade. They are related to the civil and religious traditions of the city.

The Clock Tower can be visited inside. Along the staircase, you can admire the bronze statues and the complex and ingenious system of leverages and gears that generate the movement of the clock. At the top you can appreciate a beautiful view over the city of Messina and its strait.

The mechanism moves every day at 12.00am and lasts 12 minutes. On every quarter hour the two heroines on the sides of the rooster, Dina and Clarenza, strike the quarters and the hours, and the carousel of ages moves.

Clicking on the picture below you will find further information about each statue.


Théodore Ungerer, wanted to give his complex mechanism a profound symbolic significance: the scenes on the clock in their perfect harmony movement and synchrony are a symbol of man’s soul constantly seeking God. The 16 parts of the clock are therefore divided into four tetralogies, placed in a cross design, as in this diagram: