Sextner Sonnenuhr
Sextner Sonnenuhr

Sundial of Sesto

It is probably the largest sundial in the world and comprises five members, every single of which is of utmost beauty

The so-called Meridiana di Sesto (Sundial of Sesto) is, as you might probably think, no facade painting, but a natural monument of utmost beauty. It defines five mountain summits in the surroundings of Sesto, that is to say Cima Nove, Dieci, (Croda Rossa di Sesto), Cima Undici, Cima Dodici and Cima Una.

Characteristic for the Cima Nove (2,582 m) are the different layers of sedimentation, which can be seen from afar. The Cima Nove is the lowest member of the Sundial of Sesto. The Cima Dieci, actually called Croda Rossa di Sesto (2,965 m), however, represents the eastern-most pillar of the Sesto Dolomites and was first ascended by Michael Innerkofler and Roland von Eötvös in 1878.

The Cima Undici (3,068 m) is the main peak of the Undici mountain range and boasts remnants of the times of WWI. The Cima Dodici is located on the border to the neighbouring Belluno, its main peak is 2,917 m high. The Cima Una is, at the latest world-famous since 2007, the year in which about 60,000 sq m of the mountain crashed down. The dust cloud covered the whole valley in the surroundings. Still today this rockfall is clearly visible on the rock face of the mountain.

But how does the mountain sun dial work? From Moso the course of the sun corresponds to the Italian names of the mountains. On midwinter, the sun stands above the Cima Docici (which means twelve) at noon, at 1 pm, however, above the Cima Una (meaning one). The solar altitude above the Cima Dodici and Nove is not visible, but the principle is the same also for these mountains. To cut a long story short, the Sundial of Sesto is a natural watch.

According to legends, the name of Sesto derives from he Sasso delle Dodici, as noon used to be called “sesta ora“ by the Roman people, as they used to have their own time schedule. This is probably where the toponym “Sesto“ might come from.

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