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No. 40 • January - June 2005 • Page 156
 •  Initiatives

Rome -- The Pincio Clock entrusted to ELIS students

Since 1867 there has been a monumental water clock in the Pincio Gardens, the Roman park of the Villa Borghese. The clock was built by Giovanni Embriaco, a Dominican religious with an interest in technology. It functions thanks to a small artificial reservoir that causes its pendulum to oscillate.

As part of the “Adopt a monument” program promoted by the Rome municipal government, restoration of the clock has been entrusted to Centro ELIS. In May, in the course of a simple ceremony, the mayor of Rome, Walter Vetroni, gave the director of the School of Silversmithing and Watchmaking of ELIS, Pierluigi Bartolomei, the key to the complicated mechanism, which in the future will be adjusted and maintained by students at the school.

For this occasion and coinciding with its 25th anniversary, the School of Silversmithing and Watchmaking organized an exposition entitled L’ora e l’oro (Time and Gold), from May 9 to 14, in an art gallery on the Piazza del Popolo. The Undersecretary of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Gianni Letta, was present at the opening ceremony.

The professional courses in silversmithing at ELIS began in 1979 and those in watchmaking the following year. The initiative was suggested by the professional association of silversmiths. At a time of unrestrained violence, when dark clouds seemed to be hovering over the profession (a silversmith on the Via Gallia had died in an assault in 1979), the association thought that the ELIS school would represent a constructive response. Hundreds of students have since graduated from ELIS. Their training consists in 3,600 hours of instruction and practice over a period of three years. External practice is carried out in some of the best workshops in the field. In some cases, the watchmaking students also work at the Swiss Eta company, the world leader in the production of watch mechanisms.

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