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Wonder
Wonder  }  Location

The Sundial

Lower your eyes to the ground, you will see the universe

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Where is

Veneto

Piazza del Sole e della Pace, 35031 Abano Terme PD, Italia (13m s.l.m.)

Directions
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What it is and where it is

Often, passing by this square in a distracted way one wonders: why such a strange sculpture? Why is there such a seemingly incomprehensible dedication in Abano? One has to look at the whole to understand that it is a sundial that occupies an area of about 3,000 square meters and is located between the cathedral of San Lorenzo and the municipality of Abano, in the square named after the Sun at Peace.

Why it is special

There are deep, cryptic thoughts that are difficult to explore. It is Curiosity that animates us and drives us to explore the mystery with the slowness of reading, science, research and study. But even as we walk among these marbles and try to understand something of the complex sciences that populate the square, we can meditate on ourselves as well. Observe, for example, the two initial labyrinths: getting lost and finding ourselves. And we can also reason about opposites repelling and attracting each other through the circle containing the four elements (measuring 4 meters in diameter) and having the universe at their center.

Not to be missed

The sculpture that can be seen even from a distance is actually a gnomon: the staff that, based on where its shadow goes at any given time, allows us to read the hours. The one we see here is the result of studies by Salvador Condé and Giovanni Paltinieri, and in addition to the hour, it tells us the proximity to Solstices and Equinoxes. The two sides of the gnomon are decorated with themes dedicated to Pietro D'Abano, who was born in this city and was a great university lecturer, astronomer and philosopher in the 13th century, and to Galileo Galilei who, although he was not from Padua, found the freedom he needed in this city to be able to further his studies.

A bit of history

It was completed in late 1996 by a group of experts in different fields: the creator Salvador Condè, an astrophile; Giulio Genta, a designer and architect; Giovanni Paltrinieri, a gnomonist (the scientist who studies the sun's trajectory and the division of the diurnal arc by projections); and Miro Mazzuccato, the impresario. It aims to take up the history of astronomy and the scanning of time, but also to recall what philosophical thoughts have characterized the studies in the past, incorporating within it a synthesis of all the fundamental scientific laws of human knowledge.

Trivia

Salvador Condé (died Jan. 27, 2020), the philosophical and astronomical originator of the Sundial, was a proud Aponian. In his long life (101 years) he devoted himself to many passions, teaching, politics and astronomy first. Even today, if we pass his house on Stella Street, we notice a metal dome, built so that he could observe the stars when it pleased him most, often inviting children to learn this from him. To get a good look at it, you need only go behind the library and observe the dome from there.

meridiana-abano-termeThe universe at our feet - Ph: Laura Turetta (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Le Colonne di Abano

I have always been mesmerized by the Gnomon and Armilla placed in that square, seemingly without paying attention to being placed in its center and diagonal to the buildings.

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