A few steps from the Uffizi Gallery you will find a sacred museum for science buffs, a geek paradise, and a magnet for anyone interested in craftsmanship, astronomy and physics… The Galileo Museum. The museum is not dedicated solely to the key figure in the science revolution of the 17th century – Galileo Galilei – it is a science museum, or rather a museum of the history, theory and practice of science.
You will find an endless supply of antique gadgets, interactive displays, models of various instruments that kids can play with, demonstrations of how early scientists experimented with and discovered electricity, how they used and improved telescopes and microscopes, early chemistry, electromagnetism, and hydraulics probes. But you will appreciate it only with an audio guide! You can download it from the Museum site and use it thanks to their free Wi-Fi.
We highly recommend visiting the museum only with a guided tour or with the audio guide, otherwise it would be difficult to appreciate the collection, since it is hard to guess how the devices work, what they mean and sometimes, what is the right angle to look at them. The guide will also give you an in-depth explanation of the obscure meanings and allusions of certain objects.
Take the fascinating globe collection as an example: you’ll find globes, supported or fully carried by satires, demons or sirens. This means that all people, even law abiding ones, are in the hands of the evasive “opponent” and must constantly fight their evil inner selves for our civilization to survive.
The Galileo Museum is heir to five centuries of scientific collecting that began in the 16th century, when the Medici family acknowledged the crucial role of science. After the Unification of Italy, the collection was dispersed among several universities and its state left much to be desired. In 1927 Italy founded the Institute and Museum of the Science History that in 2010 was transformed into Galileo Museum.
Not all of the museum is open for tourists: documentation and research have always been the focus of Museum’s highest attention and the amazing library is reserved only for scientists and historians, but if you are one, don’t miss the great view on Ponte Vecchio that we got to see thanks to an amazing artist, author of many beautiful Galileo Museum contemporary items – Gianni Miglietta.
Tip: If you forgot your headphones, purchase a pair at the ticket counter for 0:50 Euro at the Museum.
A great place to get away from the crowds.
Fact: In the museum you can find Galileo’s middle finger venerated, kept in a shrine. Usually you can see such things in holy sites. But remember who this great polymath was – an enemy of the church, a heretic. Yet his middle finger is subjected to the same treatment as a saintly relic.