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.

Castel Sant'Angelo

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.

sundial at the Santa Maria degli angeli e dei martiri

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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.

Via Giovanni Battista Morgagni 23-B

4) Coppedè

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.

Sundial of Coppede in Rome

Piazza Mincio

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.

obelisk at Piazza di Montecitorio in Rome

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