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Today the restored mechanism of the great clock of the Florence Duomo is officially presented in Florence. It is known as the “clock of Paolo Uccello”, so named after the great Renais.sance artist responsible for the sophisticated decoration of the dial in 1433. Set in the interior facade above the central door, in a space concealed from sight, the clock is one of the very few in the world which shows the time based on the “Italic Hours” system.


Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, in agreement with Officine Panerai, entrusted the restoration to two of the greatest experts in the field, Professor Andrea Palmieri and Professor Ugo Pancani, of the Centro Studi per il Restauro di Orologi of the I.S.I.S Leonardo da Vinci in Florence. The restoration, which has put the mechanism of the clock back in working order, was made possible thanks to the contribution of Officine Panerai, the House of haute horlogerie sports watches which was founded in Florence in 1860 and has its own historic boutique a few yards from the Duomo in the Archbishop’s Palace, facing the Baptistery.

The clock of the Florence Duomo is unique in the world not only because of its remarkable position and the painting of its dial but also because it keeps Italic Time, a way of measuring time which in antiquity was known as “Julian Time” (after Julius Caesar, who in 46 bc introduced the Julian Calendar developed by Sosigenes of Alexandria). Unlike modern dials, Italic Time – also known as “Ave Maria” or “Italian Time” – has a single hand moving round the dial anti-clockwise and the 24th hour is not midnight but the hour of sunset, from which the counting of the hours starts. Therefore the clock must be adjusted throughout the year so that the last hour of the day is always the hour of sunset.

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