Project Description

FLORENCE AND THE SCIENCE: THE TOUR OF THE SCIENCE MUSEUMS OF FLORENCE

What is the relationship between Florence and science? Are you curious and want to see something different from art, paintings and statues in a city like Florence, that wasn’t only the cradle of the Renaissance but only the homeland of modern sciences? The Medici left a big footprint in the scientific world too. They were great patrons of the arts, but also magnificently backed the sciences for nearly three centuries, starting with Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464) up to the last Gran Duke Gian Gastone (1671-1737). They encouraged the work of astronomers, mathematicians and doctors. With this Florence and the Science Tour we will see the Galileo Museum, the Florence Museum of Science, and the Museum of Natural History “La Specola”.

GALLILEO MUSEUM: A CELEBRATION OF GALILEO’S GENIUS

The Galileo Museum is the only museum in the world that houses the original scientific tools invented and used by Galileo Galilei, two telescopes and the lenses that he used to discover Jupiter’s moons. Galileo Galilei (1565-1642) is the greatest scientist of modern era: he is the first one who grasped the validity of the experimental method, a new way of thinking that revolutionized the world of Science. Even though it’s named after the big genius of the XVII century, the museum is home of more than 1.000 scientific instruments collected by the two dynasties who ruled Florence for centuries, the Medici and the Lorraine, retracing the European scientific development from the XV to the XIX century.

LA SPECOLA MUSEUM: AN IMPRESSIVE COLLECTION OF WAX ANATOMICAL MODELS

The Museum of Natural History “La Specola” is the most ancient science museum in Europe, having been opened to the public in 1775. Today it holds two different collections: the zoology section, with 3 and a half million taxidermy animals (of which 5,000 on display), and the anatomy section, with the biggest collection of anatomical models in wax in the world (1.400 wax models contained in 562 cases), mostly dating back to the XVIII century. At that time there was all around Europe a big request of anatomical models to be analyzed by students and doctors. For this reason the field of wax production grew up so intensely. In Florence, dissections were carried out on dead bodies from Santa Maria Nuova Hospital. Anatomical models were made out of wax moulds, mixed with resins and colors. Eventually, a skilled sculpture polished them with great expertise, working under the supervision of doctors and anatomists. The most impressive piece is the famous wax Venus, a real art masterpiece but also a great scientific craft work, made by ceroplast Clemente Susini. It shows the sensual naked body of a young pregnant woman whose trunk holds removable sections of her internal organs. These gutted female models were a favorite of the Marquis de Sade.

How long? From 3 to 4 hours
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