Middle Gate (Taormina)

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The Porta di Mezzo (Middle Gate) or Clock Tower is the ancient entrance to the medieval city of Taormina. In fact, the city of Tauromenium, as it was then called, extended between the present Porta Catania (Catania Gate) and the Porta di Mezzo. It was built in the 1100s on an existing foundation of an ancient defensive wall construction dating back to the 4th century BC. In 1676 the French troops of Louis XIV completely destroyed the central gate of Taormina during their invasion. In 1769, when the gate was rebuilt, the large clock at the top was also added. It is a mechanical clock from the 1800s and is a single piece resting on a cast-iron base, with a Chevalier escapement. There is also a compensating pendulum, called Galileo, which is precisely adjusted and wound every forty-eight hours. The bells of the tower were added in 1881 and are rung every year on the day of the mayoral election and on July 9th during the feast of San Pancrazio.

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