Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Institute and Museum of History of Science - Florence wrote a brief paper where he exposes his “thoughts” about the restoration of St. Mark’s Clock.
These thoughts add nothing new to the story, repeating exactly what Mr. Brusa said in the past but nonetheless it is interesting to note that the author called his piece “Thoughts” while on the Venetian Museums’ website it is referenced as “The last word”.
The article forgets to consider some fundamental points, as it already happened in the past with Brusa’s thesis.
- Modifications made by De Lucia in the middle of 19th Century did not produce an unreliable mechanism: it was capable to run for 150 years, until the last restoration work. Surely the various custodians of the Tower had to face some maintenance jobs, but this was not a good reason to alter the clock trying to improve its performance, against historical conservation principles.
- Under the aesthetical point of view the clock is now worse than before, as our photos can prove. An antique ugly clock should never be heavily modified to make it appear better, anyway.
- The “temperatore”, custodian of the Tower, is a figure that existed for five centuries in the Tower. Even if the winding of the clock will be electrified, it should have been maintained, in our opinion.
- The author of the article recommends finding a way to avoid dismantling and remounting the large wheels that carry the time indication during the periodical procession of the Magi, but he seems to forget that a mechanical system that lifts the tambure to allow the passage of the Magi exists since the construction of the mechanism!
- Paolo Galluzzi refers to the photos that Brusa and Gorla, who made the restoration, have taken during their work. Unfortunately, they did not write a plan before starting the job. Every important restoration should include this fundamental step but we have to remember that Mr. Brusa never gave us a copy of this document (if existing) even if he repeatedly promised to send us one. So we have a serious doubt: the restoration has not been preceded by a serious written study of its various stages and problems.
The original paper containing Paolo Galluzzi's thoughts, in Italian, is actually unavailable from the Venetian Museums’ site, probably for "technical difficulties".
A copy can be downloaded from this link.