PALAZZO VFD
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8 March Mar 2017 0955 6 months ago

The Palazzo dell’Orologio in Piazza Duomo in Milan

A new location for the Fabbriceria

The Annals of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano report that on 9 March 1841, the Veneranda Fabbrica approved "an additional compensation of 1,800 to architect Pietro Pestagalli for studies and drawings of the apartment building in Camposanto".

The apartment building in question - shown here in this photograph from 1969, preserved in the photo library of the Archives - is today known as the Palazzo dell'Orologio, erected behind the apse of the cathedral between 1841 and 1866 with the objective of bringing together the storehouses, marble deposits, laboratories, workshops, and offices of the Veneranda Fabbrica in a single structure. Its construction was part of a renovation and re-qualification project involving the area surrounding the Duomo which was at the centre of debate among urbanists towards the middle of the 19th century.

After work was interrupted due to the death of the designer in 1853, it resumed under his son, Giuseppe Pestagalli, and was completed in 1866. It was at the very end of its construction that the famous clock designed by architect Giuseppe Vandoni, was placed at the top of the building and in line with the central axis.

This clock was supposed to represent a sort of modern version of the older one which, from atop a tower, marked the hours of work at the cathedral's site. Initially mechanical and later fitted with an electrical system, the clock was immediately flanked by two statues: "Day", a woman shielding her eyes from the sun, and "Night", a woman sleeping. It is once again the annals that provide us with information regarding these statues, where we may read, in a news item form 28 February 1866: ”to the sculptors Luigi Buzzi Leone and Sir Abbondio Sangiorgio I. 3,500 each, for payment of the two statues "Day" and "Night", created for the clock in Camposanto.