A mysterious tower in Montepulciano
No one knows why a Neapolitan symbol can be found in Montepulciano. Legend says the Tower of Pulcinella was the idea of a bishop or priest from Campania, who brought the clock from Naples in the 17th century in tribute to his homeland. However, some believe it is not a “Pulcinella” mask atop the tower, but rather another Renaissance masquerade mask, the “Mangia” from Siena, misidentified as the Neapolitan mask.
The tower predates the church of Sant’Agostino it belongs to, overlooking Piazza Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, named after the architect who restored the 14th-century church in the 16th century by rebuilding the façade. The Tower dates back to the 17th century. It is found halfway along Via di Gracciano, starting from Piazza delle Erbe.
The statue at the top of the tower, made of wood covered with sheet metal, strikes a bell on the hour. Today, the electric clock keeps time by itself, but for centuries it had to be wound by hand. The last person to rewind it was Dino Garbini, who lived in the house below the clock with his wife Marisa and climbed to the top of the tower every night to rewind it.