This thematic, three-hour walk traces the explosion of scientific progress and the rise of humanism during the rule of the Medici family in Renaissance-era Florence. The Medicis Cosimo I and Ferdinand I were fervent patrons of the sciences, especially astronomy. Under their rule, Florence became a shining beacon for experimentation, which the Roman church was frantically trying to suppress with the Inquisition. At the same time, humanism, stemming from the study of ancient Greek and Latin texts, was a new way of thinking about a man's place in the world and became a recurring theme in Renaissance literature, art, and social history. This walk, led by a social or art historian, will uncover some of the sites around town that stand as testament to this era of intellectual progress.
We begin our walk at the Museo Galileo, where the most important Medicean collections of scientific instruments are preserved. The greatest among these collections include some of the original instruments that Galileo Galilei, one of the most outstanding figures of the Scientific Revolution, used for his groundbreaking experiments. Our encounter with Galileo will shed some light on the Medicean systems of patronage, and on the way in which scientists shaped their own image inside a court.
After visiting the museum, we will head to the center of town in order to trace the role of humanism in Renaissance Florence; be it through a delve into the poetry of Dante or Petrarch, a discussion of the drastic changes in the art of the period or of the growing interest in the study of the traditional liberal arts.
This walk is intended, in true humanist ideology, to present an in depth and well rounded view of these groundbreaking intellectual developments and the various Florentine characters who played a large role in spurring on this change.