Natural history museum Florence

The Natural History Museum of Florence is named after Galileo Galilei. The collection consists largely of a number of magnificent mechanical instruments. Like many museums in Florence, it began as a collection of the Medici family. The seat is the Palazzo Castellani, a former castle.

Galileo Galilei Natural History Museum Florence

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Natural history museum Florence
Museum of Natural History “Galileo Galilei”

The address of the museum is Museo Galileo – Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza – Piazza dei Giudici, 1 – 50122 Firenze (Italy). Tel. +39 055265311. Bus: C1. Monday to Sunday: 09.30-18.00; Tuesday: 09.30-13.00. Admission: 9 Euro; young people between 6 and 18 and people over 65: 5.50 Euro; children under 6: free. Family ticket for 2 adults and up to two children under 18: 22 Euros. Firenze card is valid.

Palazzo Castellani

The Museum is housed in the Palazzo Castellani. This former castle was already part of the fortress walls around Florence in the 12th century. Since 1929, the Museo di Storia della Scienza has been housed there.

The Collection

The second floor houses the original Medici collection, while the second floor is occupied by the collection of the Lorena family. On the third floor is the library of the museum. This can also be visited.


  • A mechanical calculator from 1664, made of bronze.
  • A compass disguised as a dagger with a plumb bob.
  • The lens through which Galileo discovered four of the moons of the planet Jupiter. He would subsequently name these after his Medici patrons.
  • There are rather lurid wax models of things that can go wrong during births.

Galileo Galilei’s middle finger

Although Galileo Galilei was a leading scientist, he was vilified by the Catholic Church for his progressive views (“What? The earth not the center of the universe?”). Pope Urban VIII therefore did not have his tomb placed in a prominent spot in the Santa Croce Basilica, but somewhere in the back. It was not until 1737, nearly 100 years after his death in 1642, that this changed. His remains were exhumed and he was given a new tomb with a funerary monument in the main part of the basilica. In the process, however, for some reason the middle finger of his right hand was cut off. This is now on display in the Museo Galilei. Perhaps held up in the direction of where Pope Urban is buried.

Natural history museum Florence

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