Arcetri’s hill, located on the south of Florence city centre, can be reached in just ten minutes’ walk. This place is famous for its beautiful landscape, made of cypresses and a unique panorama of the city, but also for being a symbolic hub for science development. Being nominated historical site by the European Society of Physics, Arcetri hosts some of the most important buildings where the history of physics was written.
The Physics Institute and the National Optics Institute
These two research centres are still active today and play an important role in many scientific fields. The Physics Institute is where Enrico Fermi wrote his work on mechanical statistics, known as “Fermi’s Statistics”, in 1926, when he also got tenure with Theoretical Physics at the University of Florence. Other important scientists that worked in this building during the same period are: Franco Rasetti, Enrico Persico, Gilberto Bernardini, Giuseppe Occhialini and Bruno Rossi.
The National Optics Institute was built in 1927. This research centre is part of the National Council of Research, together with the Institutes of Naples, Lecce, Pisa, Brescia and Trento. Called CNR-INO, the Council was born in 2010 and has resulted in a broad representativeness of the most significant and modern areas of Optics. Florence's centre deals with the studies of optics, photonics, atomic and molecular physics.
The astrophysical observatory
This amazing observatory was built in 1872, after three years of work. The construction project as coordinated by Giovanni Battista Donati, who had the idea of building an observatory far from the city lights but close enough to be easily reached from the centre of Florence. Today the observatory is used to conduct research on the sun, the stars and astrophysics in general, and it’s one of the most important scientific centres of Europe.
Galileo had more than one house in Florence
Known by the citizens as Villa Il Gioiello (the jewel), here it's where Galileo lived from 1631 till his death. It’s in this amazing palace that the scientist wrote “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems”, which was censured after 2 months from being published and printed again in Holland. Villa Galileo is also the place where the researcher wrote his last masterpiece “Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences” and where he was confined during his house arrest after being condemned by the Church (1633-1642).
Galileo had more than one house in Florence, the other one being located in Costa San Giorgio, close to Boboli Garden. However, most of his time was spent in Il Gioiello, keeping the second house for short retreats. This building, known as Casa di Galileo, was bought by the scientist in 1634. Its beautiful painted façade is still visible from the street, a great gift from this important figure to Florence.
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