After a long restoration work, the iconic Torre Accursi, now known by all as the Clock Tower of Bologna, has finally returned to its ancient and immortal splendour. To fully experience the medieval charm of Bologna, you need to start right here.
Accursi Clock Tower in a nutshell
It can be seen towering over Piazza Maggiore from Palazzo D’Accursio or Comunale, of which it constitutes the initial nucleus. We are in the historic heart of the city of Bologna where, since the mid-13th century, the Clock Tower has continued to mark time on a journey through the past, present and future which leads to the discovery of a fascinating story.
What immediately catches the eye is the enormous mechanical clock placed on its facade: it has a diameter of 6.40 meters and is among the largest in Italy. To accommodate it, the old building was raised by 10 meters in the mid-fifteenth century. Can you imagine the view from up there? You can do more: admire it live.
Yes, because following the safety measures it is now also possible to access the top of the thirteenth-century structure, with the octagonal lantern, enjoying a 360-degree view of the historic center and the surrounding hills, which embraces the square, the Basilica of San Petronio and all the other towers set in the vibrant heart of the Emilian capital.
Times and costs
When can you visit?
The Clock Tower can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday. Three admissions per hour (at 00, 20 and 40), first admission at 10:00, last at 18:20. Closed on Mondays.
How much is the ticket?
Full price: €8.00 p/person
Reduced: €5.00 p/person (for under 12s, over 65s, school groups, university students, groups of at least 6 people accompanied by a guide)
Free for children 0-3, authorized tourist guides, disabled people and carers
Visiting the Clock Tower: a great experience!
The Tower can be visited again in February 2021, after a long restoration work. The entrance is located on the second floor of Palazzo D’Accursio, in the Sala Farnese, which is accessed via the elegant “Scalinata dei Cavalli” (staircase of the horses).
You will discover one of the most iconic and evocative places in the city with the help of a precious audio guide. Just use your smartphone to listen to the anecdotes and stories surrounding this splendid monument, as you make your way through the various halls of the building until you reach the internal mechanism that operates the clock.
You will be able to admire the most unmissable panorama of Piazza Maggiore, and you will have access to the Collezioni Comunali d’arte, housed in the rooms that were once used as the residence of the Cardinal Legates. Here you will wander among paintings, objets d’art, furniture, porcelain and fabrics ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day, finally arriving at the Sala Urbana, a masterpiece of Bolognese Baroque with its heraldic decoration.
The set-up was conceived with a view to enhancing the strong link between the Clock Tower and the history of Bologna. All the materials, posters, panels, totems and leaflets, recall the typical colors of the city and the red curtains that cover the windows of the historic places.
Much attention has been paid to safety and the correct use of the various rooms. Thanks to the positioning of the billboards and digital documentation, you can always be informed on how to carry out the visit. And you will live a truly unique experience.
You just have to end the day with a tasting of typical products in the historic center of the city, to enjoy every moment of your Bolognese holiday.
What are you waiting for? Book your guided tour!
History of the Accursi Tower
Around 1250, the illustrious jurist Accursio decided to build his own house – a prestigious residence which included a tower in the corner – on the west side of Bologna’s central square. In 1287, his sons Francesco and Accursino sold the property to the Municipality for the construction of Palazzo della Biada, the first nucleus of Palazzo D’Accursio, in order to conserve agricultural produce. Only the tower remained of the pre-existing building.
After the installation of the famous clock, for which, as mentioned, it was raised by 10 meters and completed, further modifications followed one another over the centuries. Starting from 1336, the palace became the seat of political power in Bologna, welcoming the Magistrates of the Elderly Consuls and from 1506 the mixed government, becoming the Apostolic Palace. In 1773, the clock was replaced with a new machine, made by master watchmaker Rinaldo Gandolfi, which is still working today.
Following the substantial restoration of the entire building, carried out between 1885 and 1887 by Raffaele Faccioli, the Renaissance parapet with pillars was removed from the tower and replaced with the brick band considered more suitable for the new overall appearance of the structure, of rediscovered medieval style.
Five minutes before the booking time, present yourself at the entrance from the courtyard of honor of Palazzo D’Accursio, entering from Piazza Maggiore. You will find an employee at the entrance, but if necessary, the Municipal Art Collections ticket office is located in the first office to the right of Sala Farnese.
The climb to the tower is not very demanding, given that you start from the 16 meters of Sala Farnese to about 30 of the floor where the mechanisms that move the clock are located. It is now also possible to access the terrace located on its top, which allows you to enjoy an unforgettable panoramic view of the city.
The visit lasts 40 minutes, more than enough to listen to the audio guide, read the information panels and take all the photos you want.
Continue your journey and start new adventures!
If you like breathtaking panorama and ancient towers you absolutely cannot miss the Asinelli tower, the highest leaning tower in Italy!
If you prefer to walk in search of the mysteries that are hidden in the medieval alleys of the center, discover the Bologna Tour section, you will find our free itineraries as well as a selection of the best guided tours!