Galileo’s Finger

Before we left for Florence, I read an article about Galileo’s missing fingers that had been recently rediscovered.  Apparently, when Galileo’s body was moved to his final resting place in the Santa Croce church, three of his fingers were cut off and stolen.  One of the fingers has been in the Science History Museum in Florence since 1927, but the other two disappeared and have been missing for almost a hundred years.

At the time I thought – I definitely have to add this to the list of things to see in Florence!  The museum, as the article indicates, was to finish a renovation in March 2010, and the newly discovered fingers were to be on display.  However, the renovations have yet to be completed.  So I never bothered to go to the museum.

But today was our “second chance” day.  It was rainy today, so we decided to go see some things we skipped during our original twelve weeks in Florence.  So we went to the Science History Museum.  Although the newly discovered fingers are not yet on display, we did see many of Galileo’s instruments – including a compass and a telescope.  And we did see Galileo’s 400 year old finger…

And here it is!  Galileo’s finger! Cool or gross?  You decide!

I know you were thinking – I’d like to see it even closer!

Here’s Galileo’s telescope.  It is wrapped in leather. 

This was a fun mirror to look into…

We’ve also walked by the Santa Croce church dozens of times, but we had never gone inside.  Michelangelo, Galileo, and Niccolo Machiavelli are all buried in this church.  So today being the day of second chances, we decided to go in:

There was a lot of renovation going on inside Santa Croce – including behind the altar of the church.

Along the sides of the church are the tombs.  This is Michelengelo’s tomb:

And Galileo’s tomb: 

And Machiavelli’s tomb:

This is the Pazzi Chapel and the interior courtyard at Santa Croce. 

We are looking forward to our final weekend in Florence!  We have to move out of our apartment in the morning.  We will miss it!  We are moving to a nearby hotel for our last three days, as our apartment is being rented to new tenants.  Yes, we are being evicted!   Hopefully, the laundry we did earlier today will be dry by the time we leave!


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