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Galileo’s Finger

(Yes, his real finger)

Galileo Galilei's finger is on display at the Museo di Storia del Scienza in Florence, Italy.

The finger was detached from Galileo's body by Anton Francesco Gori (Florence, 1691-1757, literate and antiquary) on 12 March 1737 when Galileo's remains were transferred from a small closet next to the chapel of Saints Cosmas and Damian to the main body of the church of Santa Croce where a mausoleum had been built by Vincenzo Viviani.

Subsequently the finger was acquired by Angelo M. Bandini, the librarian of the Biblioteca Laurenziana and was exhibited for a long period in this library.

Then, in 1841, it was brought to the Tribuna di Galileo, which had just been opened in the Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale on the via Romana.

Along with the instruments of the Medici and Lorraine dynasties, it eventually became the property of the Museo di Storia del la Scienza.

Galileo's finger was moved to the Museo di Storia della Scienza in 1927. On the marble base is carved a commemorative inscription by Tommaso Perelli.

The museum says the finger "exemplifies the celebration of Galileo as a hero and martyr of science."

The room also features information on Galileo's tools and the science he pioneered and Galilean iconography and relics that survived the ages since his death.

For more information on the finger and other Galileo's artifacts, see the Institute and Museum of the History of Science Galileo's New World Page.