Galileo Museum


The Museum of the History of Science in Florence testifies to the support given to scientific research, first by members of the Medici dynasty, then by the Lorraine Grand dukes.

The Museum’s collections of scientific instruments currently contain more than 5,000 objects, about 1,500 of which are on permanent display in the twenty-one rooms open to the public.

The exhibition is broken down according to chronological and thematic criteria.The first floor is dedicated predominantly to the Medici collections of instruments (from the 15th to 18th centuries), while upstairs the scientific evidence of the Lorraine age (18th and 19th centuries) is displayed.

The Museum’s collections of mathematical instruments bear witness to the culture and experimental talents of the great mathematicians, astronomers and artist-engineers of the Renaissance. The cultural horizons,represented by the celestial and terrestrial globes, the armillary spheres, the compasses, the perspective instruments for drawing, the astrolabes and the quadrants, indicate the close interrelationship between innovative artistic activities, astronomical research, the operations for measuring distances and cartographic achievements.

Antonio Santucci’s extraordinary armillary sphere (1593) is of particular importance; as well as the only two spyglasses built by Galileo together with his objective lens which the Pisan scientist used to discover Jupiter’s satellites (1610). In addition, there are the beautiful instruments from the Accademia del Cimento, one of the first European scientific academies, which was active between 1656 and 1667.

The Museum’s Lorraine collections present a spectacular panorama of the developments in scientific research up to the middle of the 1800’s. The vast collection of electrical machines, composed of numerous frictional electrostatic generators, should be pointed out – unique sources of electricity until the invention of the disk battery by Alessandro Volta in 1800. The Lorraine collections are notable also for the sections for obstetrical wax models; geodetic instruments, weights and measures, pharmacy and mechanical clocks.

The home of the Museum is Palazzo Castellani, one of the oldest buildings in the city. The Museum, its large library, the archives, the multimedia, photographic and restoration laboratories perform an integrated role in the diffusion of scientific culture and give value to the history of science and technology and their related cultural objects.

Short Bibliography

Museo Galileo. Guida ai tesori della collezione
Camerota F. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2010

Museo Galileo: a guide to the treasures of the collection
Camerota F. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2010

Museo Galileo: guide des trésors du musée, sous la direction
de F. Camerota, Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2012

Museo Galileo: guía de los tesoros de la colección
edición de F. Camerota, Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2012

Museo Galileo: Führer zu den Schätzen der Sammlung,
herausgegeben von F. Camerota, Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2014

Museo Galileo: capolavori della scienza
Camerota F. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2010

Museo Galileo: masterpieces of science
Camerota F. (a cura di), Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2010

Galileo e la misura del tempo: sezione interattiva,
a cura di F. Camerota, Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2012

Galileo and the Measurement of Time: Interactive Area,
edited by F. Camerota, Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2012

Galilée et la mesure du temps: Section interactive,
sous la direction de F. Camerota, Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2012

Galileo y la medida del tiempo: Secciòn interactiva,
por F. Camerota, Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2012

Oggi scopro… il Museo Galileo di Firenze
Milano, Editore: Touring Junior, 2010

Catalogue of Sun-dials, Nocturnals and Related Instruments
Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2007

Museo Virtuale (DVD)
Museo Galileo, 2013

Virtual museum (DVD)
Museo Galileo, 2013

Catalogue of orbs, spheres, and Globes,

Dekker E., Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 2004

Catalogue of pneumatical, magnetical and electrical instruments,

Hackmann W., Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 1995

Catalogue of mechanical instruments,

Brenni P., Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 1993

Catalogue of early telescopes
Van Helden A., Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 1999

Catalogue of electromagnetical, electrostatical and pneumatical instruments
Hackmann W., Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 1995

Catalogue of mechanical instruments

Brenni P., Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 1993

Catalogue of microscopes
Turner G. L., Firenze, Editore: Giunti, 1991


Magnetic ducks


Plane astrolabe


Galileo’s telescope

Date: ca. 1610
Attributed to: Galileo Galilei


Mechanical paradox

Dating: Second half of the 18th century
Maker: Unsigned


Arab celestial globe

Maker: Ibrâhim ‘Ibn Saîd as Sahlì – Valencia


The writing hand


Exhibition hall dedicated to “The Spectacle of Science”

Florence, Galileo Museum, Room XI, second floor


Galilean compound microscope

Date: second half of the 17th century.
Maker: Italian manufacture
Attributed to: Giuseppe Campani


Perpetual motion clock

Datne: ca. 1660-1680
Maker: Unsigned – Central Italy


View of the Palazzo Castellani, home of the Galileo Museum in Florence


Air pump, twin barrels, table-top model

Date: ca. 1830
Maker: Unsigned – Parisian manufacture


Folding rule by Antonio Bianchini

Maker: Antonio Bianchini


Exhibition hall dedicated to “The Astronomy and Time” Florence, Galileo Museum, Room II, first floor

Maker: Antonio Bianchini


Armillary sphere by G. Della Volpaia

Maker: G. Della Volpaia



Tall-stem and spiral thermometers from the Accademia del Cimento.


Apparatus to demonstrate the isochronism of falls along a spiral

Date: first half of the 18th century
Maker: Unsigned


Hydrostatic balance

Date: Mid-17th century
Maker: Unsigned – Florentine manufacture


Box of surgical instruments

Maker: Giovanni Alessandro Brambilla

Box of surgical instruments made by Giovanni Alessandro Brambilla: for operations on the skull. Box XXXI.


Optical toy by L. Buti

Maker: L. Buti


Terrestrial and celestial globes by M. Greuter

Maker: M. Greuter



Date: 1690
Makers: Lens: Benedetto Bregans / Assembly: Francesco Spighi, Gaspero Mazzeranghi – Lens: Dresden
Assembly: Florence


Globe electrical machine, Nollet-type

Date: ca. 1775
Maker: Unsigned


Compound microscope, inverted

Date:ca. 1868
Maker: Inventor: Filippo Pacini / Maker: Angiolo Poggiali – Italian manufacture


Astronomical clock

Date: ca. 1575
Maker: Southern Germany
Attributed to: Caspar Rauber



Date: ca. 1660-1680
Author: Unsigned – Central Italy


Air pump, Nollet type

Date: ca.1780
Maker: Unsigned


Exhibition hall dedicated to “The New World of Galileo” Florence, Galileo Museum, Sala VII, first floor


Exhibition hall dedicated to “Representations of the world” Florence, Galileo Museum, Room III, first floor


Instrument of the Primum Mobile


Cluster thermometer

Date: mid-17th century
Maker: Unsigned – Florentine manufacture


Elastic and inelastic collisions apparatus

Date: second half of the 18th century
Maker: Unsigned


Galileo’s telescope

Date: End of 1609 – beginning of 1610
Maker: Galileo Galilei


Geometric and military compass

Date: ca. 1606
Maker: Galileo Galilei



Date: second half of the 17th century
Maker: Inventor: Galileo Galilei / Maker: unknown



Date: ca. 1900
Maker: Giambattista Embriaco – Rome


Galileo’s objective lens

Date: Lens: 1609-1610/Frame: 1677
Maker: Lens: unsigned / Frame: Vittorio Crosten


Drum electrical machine

Date: ca. 1776
Maker: Unsigned


Model illustrating the human arm

Model illustrating the human arm as a third-order lever.


Polyhedral sundial

Date: 1587
Maker: Stefano Buonsignori – Florence


Twin-barrel air pump

Date: 1743
Maker: Unsigned



Date: 1608
Maker: Tobias Volckmer – Braunschweig


Exhibition hall dedicated to “Measuring Natural Phenomena” Florence, Galileo Museum, Room XVI, second floor


Armillary sphere by A. Santucci

Date: 1588-1593
Maker: Antonio Santucci – Florence


Surveying instrument

Date: 1557
Maker: Baldassarre Lanci – Florentine manufacture


Lens-grinding lathe

Date: second half of the 18th century.
Maker: Andrea Frati – Florence


Galileo Museum. Institute and Museum of the History of Science, Florence
Piazza dei Giudici, 1
Phone: 055 265311
Fax: 055 2653130
Visit the site | E-mail

How to get there
By car: When you arrive in Florence, follow the signs to the Viali di Circonvallazione, then to Piazza Beccaria (Santa Croce district). Park in Lungarno della Zecca.

Opening hours

The museum is open every day, including Sundays and holidays, except January 1 and December 25.

From Monday to Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ticket sales end 30 minutes before closing time.


Accessibility for the Differently abled | Historical Archives | Library | Education Department | Guided Tours

Since March 28, 2012, the new interactive rooms have been open to the public: a space where visitors can use autonomously innovative exhibits that help to understand the principles and operation of some of the original instruments present in the museum’s exhibition halls.


Full-price € 9.00
6-18 years of age € 5.50
Groups (minimum 15 people) € 5.50
School groups (6-15 years of age) € 4.50
Children under 6 years of age free
Family ticket (2 adults + max 2 children up to 18 years) € 22.00


Cumulative Database, Galileo, Museum Florence
[Archive] go to the site

Science Museum, Museum of Science and Industry. London
[Museum] go to the site

Musée des arts et métiers. Paris
[Museum] go to the site

Deutsches Museum. Munich
[Museum] go to the site