Galileo Museum


Opening hours: Daily 9:30am-6pm, except Tuesday closes at 1:00pm.

Closing days: public holidays.

Admission: € 9.00.
Exhibit starts at the first floor.


Sitting on the banks of the Arno river next to the Uffizi gallery is Palazzo Castellani, where the newly restored Galileo Museum (previously known as the History of Science Museum) is housed. The core of the collection of the Galileo Museum comes from the great interest in physical and mathematic sciences of the ruling Medici family and their successors, the Lorraines.

The Medici collection was begun by Cosimo I (1519-1574) who housed his collection of scientific instruments in the famous cabinets of what is now known as the “Map Room” of Palazzo Vecchio. His son Ferdinando I carried on the tradition and transferred the collection to what became known as the Mathematics Room at the Uffizi. Ferdinando's grandson, Grand Duke Ferdinando II was obsessed with new technology and together with his brother, Leopoldo de' Medici, established the scientific society, Accademia del Cimento, set up in the Pitti Palace for scientific research and the creation of laboratory instruments. Later, in 1775,  Grand Duke Peter Leopold Habsburg-Lorraine moved the instruments from the Pitti Palace to a museum next door, now known as La Specola but then known as the Museum of Physics. An observatory was built and new instruments were added to the collection, including Galileo's own telescopes and other instruments.

These pieces, acquired from five hundred years of scientific research, have become the permanent collection that we see now in the Galileo Museum next door to the Uffizi.

Galileo Galilei was a revolutionary Pisan scientist – a physicist, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher who lived and worked in Florence. Today considered the “father of modern science”, he ironically was condemmed a heretic and sentenced to house arrest for life for his theory that the sun was at the centre of the universe. At his death in 1642, Grand Duke Ferdinando II wanted him buried in the nave of the prestigious Basilica of Santa Croce but the Pope would not allow it. Another century passed before his body was finally allowed to be buried in the place he deserved, where you can still find the monument and sculpture erected in his honour.