The magic summer solstice in FlorenceDid you know that...
The magic summer solstice in Florence
In Florence, on the dome that rises above the Cathedral, stands the largest gnomon in Europe. If you are not lovers of astronomy, the image of a great gnomon perched on Brunelleschi's colossal creation will surely have made you smile. But we are not talking about fairy tales or enchanted woods, rather of science: the gnomon is the part of the solar clock that projects its shadow onto a base plate. For the Duomo of Florence, this plate is a perforated bronze tablet (‘bronzina’) fitted at a 90 m height inside one of the windows of the dome.
On some special days, this contraption creates an incredible and evocative show: in the solstice period from 12.30 to 13.30, the sun rays descend from the bronze tablet and create an image of the sun. This figure slowly overlaps the white marble disc to the left of the main altar. It is a fascinating scientific phenomenon that attracts many tourists and has repeated itself for 300 years. The astronomical instrument, among the oldest invented, was installed in 1475 by the Florentine mathematician Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli in order to determine the solstice but also the inclination of the earth.
We can assure you that seeing the sun rays create a disc that overlaps the marble one amidst the darkness inside the cathedral is a show really worth witnessing. Obviously you have to be in Florence at the right time of the year - a period which, among other things, is perfect to enjoy the fantastic Tuscany city. The long summer days will allow you to have many hours to visit the pearl of the Renaissance and therefore we recommend taking advantage of one of our Tours of Florence. We really do have something for everyone: from the more classical ones such as 'Florence not to be missed' that will allow you to visit the most significant places of the Tuscan capital to the more creative and unusual ones. Want some examples? 'Romantic Florence' for love birds or 'Scary Florence' for those who prefer a more eerie atmosphere.
Florence: The Lampredotto of Firenze, the king of street food!
Did you know that...
There are dishes that count as established institutions in the tradition and culture of some cities. Here, in Florence, this role is pl...View
Arezzo: Guido d'Arezzo and the invention of the music
In Talla and surroundings people have no doubt: the inventor of the musical stave, the inventor of the music notes and also of the mode...View
Pisa: Kinzika, the young woman who saved Pisa from the Saracens
It was really her, a young woman with an Arabian name, Kinzica, of the noble Sismondi family, to save Pisa from being sacked by Saracen...View