Monday, November 22, 2010

Mondovì Sundials (Meridiane e Elementi di Gnomonica)

Two Sundials in Mondovì, Piemonte


“La città di Mondovì è ricca di meridiane. Se ne contano 20 complessi in città circa 10 nelle immediate vicinanze.” This is the description on a plaque on the Torre dei Bressano in the Giardino del Belvedere in Mondovì Piazza (upper Mondovì). The sign indiates that Mondovì is rich with sundials. You can find 20 elaborate ones in the city and 10 in the immediate vicinity of the tower. In this post we describe six sundials that we saw. (Hopefully we describe them correctly. We knew nothing about sundials before trying to figure out what we were seeing here in Mondovì!)

Some of the sundials around Mondovì according a sign in the Giardino del Belvedere (pictured here) are:
- Ore Canoniche
- Ore Italiche da Campanile (pictured included)
- Ore Francesi (pictured included)
- Linea Meridiana (pictured included)
- Linee Diurne
- Curva Lemniscata (pictured included)
- Ore Bablioniche

Sundial 1: The first sundial shown here is with Ore Francesi (French Hours) which was an early name for the equal hour system with two 12 hours days that began at midday and midnight. The face of building that this sundial is on faces southwest (azimuth 140 degrees). The photo was taken around 12:30pm. The building is on via della Meridiana.

Sundial 2: The second sundial shown here is the Linea Meridiana (Meridian Line) is on the same building face as the the first sundial. The second sundial provides the local time around noon, often called a Noon Sundial.

Sundial 3: The third sundial shown here is in the same piazza (Piazza San Pietro) as the first two but on a building that faces southeast (azimuth 15 degrees) and shows ore italiche (Italian hours). This sundial shows the number of hours elapsed since the most recent sunset. For more on the terminology used in sundials, check out this informative page.

Sundial 4: The fourth sundial is in Mondovì Piazza, on the Piazza Maggiore, Palazo del Governatore building where there is a large sundial (ore europee con lemniscata sulla linea del mezzogiorno) for indicating hours of the day and noon (noon sundial). This sundial faces southeast (azimuth 30 degrees).

Sundial 5: The fifth sundial shown here is on the Torre dei Bressano. It is a sundial facing southeast (azimuth 85 degrees) with equal hours and equinox lines. The winter solstice line is concave facing up, the equinoxes are the straight line, and the summer solstice line is the concave facing down. For more on what the azimuth means see this primer on azimuth lines.

Sundial 6: The sixth sundial shown here is in the in the Giardino del Belvedere and it is a horizonal sundial. And finally, the seventh sundial is an equatorial sundial adjacent to the Torre.

(The numbering for the pictures shown below refers to the number of the sundial as it was discussed above. The sundials in and around Mondovì do not follow this numbering.)

Sundial 1 on Via Meridiana - Equal Hours Sundial


Sundial 2 on Via Meridiana - Noon Sundial (On the Right)


Piazza San Pietro


Sundial 3 in Piazza San Pietro - Hours Since Last Sunset


Sundial(s) 4 in Piazza Maggiore, Mondovì


Sundial 5 on Torre dei Bressano


Sundial 6 in Giardino del Belvedere


Sundial 7 - An Equatorial Sundial


Sundial Informational Plaques

For more examples of sundials in Mondovì and Piemonte, see Selected Sundials (Meridane) of Southwest Piedmont (Piemonte).

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