As we move into the second fortnight in October the seasons changes start to become steadily more apparent in and around Barga. On the mountainside around the city the trees are gradually moving through the scales of colours from green through to red (check out Daily Images from last week) In the city itself the sun filled piazzas of the summer are now gradually shrinking in size as the sun rises much lower in the sky and the shadows grow longer. Piazza Angelio will manage to keep an area sunlight right through the winter but for Piazza Salvo Salvi, the main square outside Palazzo Pancrazi, the sunlit area is now just a small area of heat and light where people now crowd into to enjoy the autumn sun during the mornings. Somebody this morning remembered Archimedes and the siege of Syracuse and came up with the idea of using mirrors to bounce some of that light across the piazza and into Aristo’s bar to warm up the chilly air.
When Marcellus withdrew them [his ships] a bow-shot, the old man [Archimedes] constructed a kind of hexagonal mirror, and at an interval proportionate to the size of the mirror he set similar small mirrors with four edges, moved by links and by a form of hinge, and made it the centre of the sun’s beams–its noon-tide beam, whether in summer or in mid-winter. Afterwards, when the beams were reflected in the mirror, a fearful kindling of fire was raised in the ships, and at the distance of a bow-shot he turned them into ashes. In this way did the old man prevail over Marcellus with his weapons. source
(could this be the first description of weapons of mast destruction? *)
An upright dressing mirror from Graziella’s clothes shop was brought out into the sun and the beam directed at the opposite side of the piazza. It was decided that the mirror was too small and so a larger one was brought out from Keane’s studio. The effect was bright .. in fact so bright that dark glasses were need to protect against the glare but in the end the experiment was declared a failure …back to the drawing board. The winning idea would seem to be an open fire in the piazza … maybe its time to roast chestnuts again ?
* I apologise for this terrible line