It has been an everyday occurrence in this village in Northern Italy for centuries. The church bells are ringing and it is business as usual.
But in the village of Chiari, no one is pulling a rope. The bells are remote-controlled by state-of-the-art technology.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention – and that’s certainly been true here in Chiari.
As the number of priests dwindles, the Church has been forced to find other ways of carrying out their essential daily chores.
Here, wireless technology is the answer. This technology, developed by a local company, allows priests to activate their bells from a tiny touchpad inside the church or via remote control through a mobile phone, even when they are thousands of kilometres away.
Computers linked to the tower mechanism make the bells move. Here in Chiari they are rung every 15 minutes to mark the time, with a longer recital at noon and 6pm. They can play up to 15 different melodies a day, chosen from a pool of 140 – all MP3 files downloaded onto the computer.
Thanks to this technology every sound in the church can be controlled remotely, from the organ right down to the altar boy’s hand bell.
The bells have been ringing in this village for centuries, but now their sound is generated by a touch on a keypad rather than a tug on a rope.
Goodness only knows what Quasimodo would think.