origins of this museum, one of the most important of its kind, date back
to 1500 and the passionate interest of Francesco I in scientific matters.
He made use of many scientific instruments in his studies and promoted
the opening of a special room devoted to mathematics.
In 1775, the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo inaugurated the Florentine Museum
of Physics and Natural History, which included a collection of scientific
instruments from various ages.
In the nineteenth century, a lack of finance due to little interest in
the subject resulted in a period of decline for the museum which lasted
for about 40 years. But in 1841, thanks to the work of the scholars Nobili
and Amici, a section dedicated to Galileo was inaugurated and antique
equipment used by the Medici and by Galileo went on display.
The 1966 flood seriously damaged the objects and precious instruments
housed in the museum, though they were subsequently quickly restored.
In the 21 rooms of the museum there are numerous collections of antique
instruments, not only from Italy but also from Germany and England, including
unique pieces of mechanical equipment and surgical tools.
Picture by Kee-Ho Casati
Translated by Jeremy Carden