Like Galileo Galilei, That’s Amore
What a day! After breakfast we headed to Museo Galileo for a self directed tour. We previously used small group tour guides for our excursions but, both being scientists, we figured we had this, and overall we did well. The free downloadable museum app helped, but only slightly.
We wandered around the museums three floors stopping at everything that looked interesting, like microscopes and telescopes. (I heard somewhere that Galileo didn’t invent the telescope, “just” improved it.) We were amazed at the number of other scientific, drafting and measuring tools that were invented in the 1500 and 1600’s. The ingenuity, precision and beauty of those instruments boggles the mind.
Renaissance people were obsessed with science and the heavens, much the way we are. Having a globe or astrolabe on display in your home let everyone know you were a person of means, importance and education.
The globes on the right were made by Vincenzo Maria Corronelli in 1693. He previously made globes nearly 4 meters in diameter for King Louis XIV of France which are part of the Medici collection.
Speaking of Medici, after leaving the Galileo Museum we headed down alongside the Arno River to the Ponte Vecchio, or Old Bridge.
The original 962 AD wooden bridge was renovated several times before being completely rebuilt in 1345 after a devastating flood.
When Grand Duke Ferndinando I de’ Medici (1587-1609, who died a young man) became fed up with the overwhelming stench from market vendors and meat cutter shops on the bridge, he declared only aesthetically pleasing businesses such as gold and jewelry shops can operate there, a rule still in effect today.
In the 16th century, Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici added the Vasari Corridor atop this bridge as a covered walkway between his residence at the Uffizi and his wife’s at the Palazzo Pitti. It was filled with paintings and busts of significant people, so he could impress visitors as they walked.
Point of history: The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge spared in WWII.
Point of caution: Be wary of the little 2” high steps located to the middle of the road on the bridge. They can be hazardous, especially if you are looking at the splendid scenery around you. Note the street vendor above. He is standing on the low step, and the lady is walking on the higher step.
Imagine the power and wealth of the Medici’s to build a private corridor nearly a half mile long through a major city, and this was a minor, trivial part of the their capabilities.
At 14:14 (2:14 PM to all you back home) we left Florence for Rome. We boarded an express train requiring only an hour and a half at 247 kpm. We found the train on time, but the train was 10 minutes late. We boarded, stowed our luggage and headed out, making up our tardy departure in no time.
Taxi stands are immediately outside the Roma Termini rail road station. Be sure to select a cab that has the yellow and black TAXI light on the top. 10 euros later we were at Cosmopolita Hotel Rome, Tapestry Collection by Hilton.
Hotel Marketing Plug:
Located in an ancient palace with stairs located throughout, we are two blocks from Piazza Venezia. The Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Colosseum are a 15-minute walk away. Our cozy rooms are designed to reflect the history of ancient Rome and our rooftop offers great views of the city.
The concierge suggested Le Lantern for dinner and it was an excellent suggestion! We had an excellent dinner, perhaps the best yet in Rome, but the chocolate soufflé dessert may have been the best I ever had.
0.50 litres of red house wine and 2 glasses of rose later, it was time for bed.