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  • Marble bust of Galileo Galilei over the main door of Palazzo dei Cartelloni, Florence.zoom in altra finestra
  • Bas-relief alluding to Galileo's definition of the parabolic motion of projectiles, on the facade of Palazzo dei Cartelloni, Florence.zoom in altra finestra

Palazzo Viviani or "Casa dei Cartelloni"

The Palazzo dei Cartelloni, which was the residence of Vincenzo Viviani, was the first public monument in Florence to render homage to Galileo Galilei. Viviani had fondly assisted the Pisan scientist from October 1639 until his death (1642). In the decades that followed, he spent enormous energies on the project for a monumental sepulchre to erect in honour of the Maestro, but he did not succeed in overcoming the resistance of church environments which considered it inopportune to celebrate the memory of a man condemned for "vehement suspicion of heresy". So it was that in 1690 Viviani commissioned his friend Giovan Battista Nelli with the realisation of the facade of his palazzo, courageously conceived as a monument to Galileo. In addition to two large cartouches with inscriptions exalting the discoveries of the Maestro, he had a bust mounted with bas reliefs on either side evoking several of the Pisan scientist’s discoveries. One alludes to the observation of the satellites of Jupiter, using the telescope, in order to determine the longitude at sea, while the other refers to Galileo defining the parabolic motion of projectiles. Only in 1737 was the monumental sepulchre in the Basilica of Santa Croce inaugurated, and the moral remains of Galileo and of his loyal follower Viviani, who had died more than thirty years before, were placed to rest there.

Today, Palazzo Viviani hosts the Studio Art Centers International (SACI) of Florence, and inside also has a small, lovely garden in the mock-classical style.


Texts by Graziano Magrini

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 21/feb/2008