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  • House of Robert Dudley in Florence: detail of the balconyzoom in altra finestra
  • House of Robert Dudley in Florence.zoom in altra finestra

House of Robert Dudley

A plaque walled into the facade of a building on the via della Vigna Nuova, by biographer Giovanni Temple Leader, marks the Florentine house where geographer and naval engineer Robert Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, lived in the first half of the 17th century. In the service of the Medici, he designed and built ships, reclaimed the marshlands between Pisa and the sea, and enlarged the port of Livorno. His most important contribution, however, is the monumental treatise on nautical science, Dell’arcano del mare, printed in Florence between 1646 and 1647, which constitutes the first nautical atlas ever published. He named Grand Duke Ferdinando II heir to his estate, which included a vast collection of scientific instruments, part of which he himself invented and part built by skilful British craftsmen during the reign of Elisabeth I, part of which are today conserved in the Institute and Museum of History of Science in Florence.


Texts by Graziano Magrini

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 01/feb/2008