The Sundial of Priolo Gargallo

Render Priolo Gargallo detail

Render Priolo Gargallo 1

The dial belongs to a new and innovative type of horizontal watches. It was built using Modica stone and lava stone with refined cutting technologies. The plant is composed of a circular tank whose external diameter is 8.58 m for a depth of about 60 cm. Inside it there is a complex horizontal solar dial with a radius of 376 cm, positioned just 1 cm above the water level. The two containment embankments are in the shape of hyperbolee branches here are placed the hour markers. Including a circular sidewalk and a laurel flowerbed, the diameter of the fountain exceeds 12 meters and has a flow of water released by as many as 22 foam jets.

The Dial

Built on the meridian of Central Europe, the dial marks the True Solar Hours, which due to the elliptical orbit of the Earth around the Sun are unequal and therefore different from the conventional ones (Civil Hour), indicated by the Roman numerals; in addition, a second numbering has been made to indicate the summer hours (legal), which uses Arabic numerals; placed along the north-south direction it has been designed to work from 6.15 to 17.15. The detecting shadow was generated by a polar stylus (gnomon) of 100 cm that always moves within the area between the winter Solstice line (the furthest). It will be observed therefore, on December 21 the longest shadow, and on June 22 the shortest one. The dial also has a seasonal calendar with all the symbols of the zodiac in a stylized form. In this way, by following the positioning of the gnomon’s tip in the various sectors, it is possible to know under which astrological sign you are on the day you consult the clock.


The design sought the playful interaction of the element water with the rigour of gnomonic science: the cheerful noise of jets with the severe silent motion of the stylus. With the dial plane and hour lines in immersion, the shadow generated by the stylus moves in waves: the perception of time is thus fluctuating and uncertain. It is a metaphor for life. In emersion, the shadow is sharp and sharp in its slow but inexorable movement. Like the passing of the years. The motto carved on the slab at the foot of the stylus – “A luce primordia ducit” reminds us that every form of life and the works of human ingenuity would not be possible without our beloved Sun.

Inaugurated on January 6, 2012, the work was designed in the spring of 2010 and completed in November 2011.