5 hidden sundials or meridians in Rome
1) Castel Sant'Angelo
In the central parapet of Castel Sant’Angelo, just above the bridge by the same name, there’s a sundial etched on the stone balustrade overlooking the Tiber River. It’s believed to have been used to synchronise a mechanical clock that used to rest just above this opening until the castle was restored in 1901.
2) Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri
Commissioned by Pope Clement XI to assert the supremacy of the Gregorian calendar, the bronze diagonal line cuts across the floor of the basilica just before the apse, marking the meridian that crosses Rome. Everyday at solar noon, the sun shines through a small hole in the wall casting a sun-shaped beam on the line.
3) Two on one corner
On the two buildings on the corner of Via Morgagni and Viale Regina Margherita, there are two sundials, one eastern declining indicating the hours of the morning, the other western declining, indicating the afternoon hours. The one facing Via Morgagni bears the signs of the zodiac.
Art Nouveau and Tolkien had a baby. Its name is Coppedè. Architect Gino Coppedè built this district around Piazza Mincio, marked by a fountain with frogs spitting water. Surrounding residences are frescoed in mythological themes. Among the most eyecatching is Villino delle Fate, with a weather vane on top, and a sundial on the side.
5) Horologium Augusti
Augustus’ Sundial, or what’s left of its original platform, is accessed via the basement of this private property, after calling ahead. It originally spanned 160 × 75 metres. The Egyptian obelisk that now stands in Piazza di Montecitorio was its gnomon that casts a shadow on the centre of the Ara Pacis every September 23rd, Augustus’ birthday.
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The 500 Hidden Secrets of Rome reveals off-the-beaten-track places and interesting details for anyone who's keen to explore Rome's best-kept secrets.
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