The Parish Church of Saints Peter and Paul is the most distinguishing element of the entire architectural layout of the village of Ceriana: with its imposing facade, its two bell towers, it stands out in the midst of the old houses of the village giving an impression of splendor.
In the sacristy of the Parish of Saints Peter and Paul it is possible to observe the Water Clock or Table Hydroconometer by Father Giovanni Battista Embriaco. He was a Dominican friar with a passion for clocks, but also a lecturer in mathematics, philosophy, and moral theology in Nepi and Rome, as well as an inventor: he won no less than 10 medals at the Universal Expositions, invented the table clock, the regulator with chime, automatic brakes for carriages, tools for metalworking, and the pantelegraph, forerunner of the fax machine.
But his best-known invention is that of water clocks, to be precise, hydrochronometers, monumental or tabletop.
Tabletop hydrochronometers such as Ceriana's are found in Florence at the Museum of the History of Science, in two important German museums in Stuttgart and Mindelheim. and in a dozen or so in private collections.
Rome is home to two of these sophisticated monumental time machines signed by the religious man. The most famous is located at the Pincio, the famous hill with the beautiful panoramic square overlooking the Urbe. It has stood here since 1873, although its invention dates back to 1867. The installation was also realized thanks to the work of municipal architect Gioacchino Ersoch.
The system invented by the clergyman - a mechanism in which water, filling two basins in alternating rhythm, imparts a uniform ("isochronous") motion to the chime and the pendulum - was recognized as ingenious by all the scientists of the time, to whose evaluation the inventor himself subjected it.