The Cardinal's Clock
This, surely, must be one of the most unusual clocks in Rome! The cardinal's clock can be found in the courtyard of the Palazzo del Commendatore, which lies a stone's throw from St Peter's Basilica.
The clock, which dates back to the early 19th century, sits at the centre of a shield, which is surmounted by a cardinal's hat. The clock-face is divided into only six hours
and the pointer takes the form of a lizard. The dial is encircled by an ouroboros (a snake devouring its own tail), a symbol of the cycle of time.
The Palazzo del Commendatore was home to the governor of the Ospedale di Santo Spirito in Sassia, one of the oldest hospitals in the world, and the dove of the Holy Spirit (Santo Spirito) hovers above the clock.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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