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Art and Science from Florence to the Val d'Orcia

Between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, thanks to the Renaissance, Tuscany revolutionised all the fields of science and art. Galileo Galilei, who was born in Pisa, was a key figure in the scientific revolution in both physics and astronomy, giving extremely important contributions such as the theory supporting heliocentrism. 

He was suspected of heresy and his precious friendship with the Medici family helped him to escape being burnt at the stake. Galileo was not reinstated by the Catholic Church until 1992, after a long review of his trial requested by Pope John Paul II. It was not possible to bury him right away in the Franciscan Basilica of Santa Croce, the Pantheon of the great: in fact, he was buried there many years later. 

La tomba di Galileo Galilei in Santa Croce a Firenze
Tomba di Galileo Galilei in Santa Croce a Firenze

He was suspected of heresy and his precious friendship with the Medici family helped him to escape being burnt at the stake. Galileo was not reinstated by the Catholic Church until 1992, after a long review of his trial requested by Pope John Paul II. It was not possible to bury him right away in the Franciscan Basilica of Santa Croce, the Pantheon of the great: in fact, he was buried there many years later. 
A modern sundial located on the embankment along the Arno river, in Piazza dei Giudici, indicates the entrance to the Galileo Museum in Florence, where there is one of the most important collections of scientific instruments in the world. Crossing the Arno, you arrive in front of one of the most mysterious gardens in Florence, the Torrigiani Garden. In this English-style garden, located within Arnolfo's walls (part of the Florence city walls), you can admire Merlin's Cave, the garden of citrus fruits and flowers, the horsewoman, the little temple of Arcadia, the hermitage, the aviary, the lemon house and a big, spectacular Tower. If the lesser-known gardens are those that attract our attention, the Medici Villa di Fiesole, built for Giovanni dei Medici, is just right for us. Giovanni was the forerunner of Lorenzo the Magnificent: he was a great lover of architecture and science and he built this villa, an example of the early Renaissance, on a very steep slope that required the construction of a large terrace. 

Veduta della villa Medici a Fiesole
Villa Medici a Fiesole

Art and natural science also meet each other in San Gimignano inside the Ornithological Museum in the Church of San Francesco, where about 370 specimens of rare or endangered birds are kept. 
Art and science also come together in the square of Pio II in Pienza, where the different architectures are in harmony with each other, creating balance and perspective where they do not have a large space available. In Val d’Orcia, in San Quirico, the Horti Leonini bring together the elements of the formal Italian-style garden with a strong symbolic and sacred connotation.

Gli Horti Leonini
Horti Leonini a San Quirico d'Orcia

The path of art and science allows us to get to know another great scientist, Leonardo Fibonacci: he was a mathematician with knowledge of the Arab treatises and a scholar at the court of Frederick II who created the Fibonacci series, linked to the golden ratio. 

Statua in marmo raffigurante Fibonacci nel Camposanto di Pisa
La statua di Fibonacci al Camposanto di Pisa

The series is a sequence of numbers in which each number is the sum of the previous two, and it is present throughout nature, in the cosmos, in astronomy, in botany, geometry, music, art and the human body. His tomb is located in the Camposanto di Pisa (Pisa cemetery), a very large stone museum cloister located in Piazza dei Miracoli. 

  • Progetto finanziato a valere sui fondi Legge n. 77 del 20 febbraio 2006 “Misure speciali di tutela e fruizione dei siti italiani di interesse culturale, paesaggistico e ambientale, inseriti nella “lista del patrimonio mondiale”, posti sotto la tutela dell’UNESCO”