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Sunny Skies

Aiello del Friuli is a village in northern Italy, about 75 miles from Venice. It’s home to about 2200 residents and more than a hundred sundials — so many that it’s known as the “village of sundials.” It hosts a sundial festival every year, in late May.

The village began earning the nickname in 1994. A resident created a sundial and hung it on the side of his house. It was more than just a pointer and some numbers, though — it was a work of art. So others in the village asked him to make sundials for their homes. He obliged. And before long, other artists got into the act.

Today, the sundials are spread all across town. There are more than 20 in a plaza next to a museum, but they’re in all the neighborhoods as well. Like the original, many of the sundials are mostly two-dimensional and are displayed on building walls. But some are more three-dimensional — globes, bowls, and other shapes mounted on their own.

The sundials follow many artistic themes. Some have religious or historic significance. Others depict nature or agriculture, or have a more abstract quality. And the bounty keeps on growing. The annual festival includes a contest for the best sundial created during the previous year.

All of the sundials also do a job: They track the time as the Sun crosses the daytime sky in the “village of sundials.”

Tomorrow: the head of the serpent wriggles into the evening sky.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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