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The 17th century was a very important one for science, and at the time Florence became a pioneering town in the field. One of the reasons for this was the interest in science shown by the leaders Ferdinand II and Cosimo II. Specifically, the Grand Duke Ferdinand II founded an academy for experimental sciences known as Accademia del Cimento, which was responsible for bringing together the extensive collection of objects found at the Museum of History of Science.
While this is museum in not usually very busy it is both interesting and stimulating. Its rooms are arranged thematically and a visit will help you better understand the scholarly atmosphere that prevailed at the time.
To begin with, on the first floor you will find old mathematical measurement instruments such as astrolabes that were used to determine the height of the stars as well as the time and latitude. You'll also find a room dedicated to Fernando II featuring a thermoscope and a precision scale. You will also see one of the first mechanical calculators and a box of compasses that belonged to Michelangelo.
In Room 4 you will find a number of objects bearing relationship to Galileo, the most brilliant scientist of his time. Highlights here include the lenses used to discover the four moons of Jupiter in 1609, which were at the time called "Medicean Planets". Here you'll also find something infinitely more macabre: some bones belonging to Galileo himself.
Other interesting rooms are those which house beautiful maps and globes as well as hydrostatic elements, surgical instruments and creepy anatomical models.
Cenacolo di Sant’Apollonia (25)
Palazzo Rucellai (40)
Piazza della Repubblica (44)
San Marco (32)
Santissima Annunziata (30)
Mercato Centrale (24)
Palazzo Strozzi (37)
Piazza della Signoria (5)
Santa Croce (8)
Via Tornabuoni (36)
Giardino dei Semplici (28)
Opificio dell Pietre Dure (31)
Palazzo Medici-Riccardi (27)
Santo Spirito (48)