For over 5 centuries, during the month of June, astronomy and architecture have fused together in the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. It is, in fact, during this period that visitors can witness one of the most unusual and striking shows the Summer solstice has to offer.
Thanks to the gnomon Paolo Toscanelli had built in Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome, it is possible to observe the passage of the sun’s rays in the Cathedral since 1475. Not the traditional gnomon with a blade that casts a shadow, Toscanelli’s is a gnomonic hole situated on the lantern at a height of 90 metres which projects the sun on a shaded surface, in this case the Cathedral’s marble pavement. The round spot can, in fact, be observed crawling over the floor to a specific white marble spot just on the left of the high altar.
This event occurs 4 times during the month of June, every year on a different date. This year it will be possible to admire the phenomenon on Monday 8th June, Friday 12th, Saturday 20th and Thursday 25th. From 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm. Free admission.