In 1356 the City of Bologna’s first city clock is unveiled. Installed in the Palazzo Capitanato at the Piazza, it strikes the hours for the first time on this day.
Since it was in Italy, the clock was set to “Italian time.” The first hour of the day was a half-hour after sunset. The hours proceeded clockwise around the clock face, with the 19th hour at about the spot where we would have 12. It struck the 24th hour about a half hour before sunset, ringing the bell or bells 24 times. The clock pictured here, which is still in Venice, is similar to the one Bologna had.
Italian time required the clock minders to reset the clock every three weeks or so because the days would grow longer or shorter, depending on the season. They had to lift and move the heavy iron clock works backwards or forwards so that the first hour rang a half-hour after sunset. Strange as this system was, it continued for a long time in Italy, Hungary and some other scattered places.