"The curious thing about Coducci,
the architect of this and most of the other important early Renaissance
buildings in Venice, is that his name was unknown until some industrious
archive research was carried out at the end of the nineteenth century.
The central tower was built between 1496 and 1506; the wings were
an addition, perhaps by Pietro Lombardo. Above the clock face is the Madonna.
During Ascension Week and at the Epiphany, the Magi come out and bow to
her every hour, in an angel-led procession. At other times of year,
the burly Moors on the roof, made of gun-metal and cast in 1497, strike
the hour. Another Moore, Roger - who has been cast plenty of times
since 1497 - sent a villain flying through the clock face in the film Moonraker.
If the long work of restoration really does come to an end in 2000 (no
breath-holding, please), it will be possible once again to climb the tower
and get a close view of the clock-mechanism
and those muscular Moors."
"The clock shows the hours in Roman
numerals, the phases of the moon and the Zodiac. It also gives indications
to sailors about the tides and which months are more favorable for sailing.
The Serenissima gave a large reward to the Ranieri brothers who constructed
the clock tower, but legend has it that later their eyes were removed in
order to keep them from repeating such a wonder."
and Curiosity of Venice)