Florence, Italy: Do NOT miss the Gnomon in June or you will wait another year

Florence's cathedral, the solstice

Florence, Italy    

I have been traveling to Firenze (Florence) for years since I attended a semester abroad many years ago.   
But I have never heard of The Gnomon until my expat friend Sheila(an accomplished photographer and long time real estate professional) sent me an email today.

If you are in Florence try to experience the Gnomon.   

A quick search online gave me some back-
ground information and fascinating photos I will share with you.  (see credits).

If you attend this month, please share your impressions and photos.  I will be happy to add them to this post.

What is the Gnomon in Florence in the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore?

device in A The bronze plate in the floor of the left transept lines up with the sun’s rays coming through   1.                          

According to Wikipedia a gnomon is part of a sundial that casts the shadow.    The device in the dome of the Florence cathedral is nearly 90 meters above the church floor.

On only four days each year the shadow cast will fall on white marble disk set in the floor at the left side chapel indicating the exact point of the summer solstice.  

Don’t be late, this event only lasts between 12:30 and 1:30 and I have been told there are only a limited number of tickets for each ‘performance’. 1.

You are witnessing the sun passing through an opening  (5 cm)in a bronze disk inserted up in the dome to form a circle which perfectly fits into the 90 cm disk inlaid in the floor of the Cappella della Croce (chapel of the cross). 2.   The lucky spectators will catch the circle of light cross the floor and fill the marble disk before moving on.  

The creator of this gnomon was Paolo del Pozzo Toscanelli, studying a science not well know in mid 1400.     Such a spectacle may have frightened the local population at that time.

Climbing to the top of the dome I heels while living in Florence, was one of the most  insane events of my trip.  


1.  Fiorentina  June 21, 2013

2.  www.turismo.intoscana.it

3.  Silvia Messeri, Th Gnomon of Florence


credits:  1.  Fiorentina  June 21, 2013

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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