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Sunday, January 8, 2017

375 years ago on 8 January aged 77 : Died the visionary who achieved the impossible

Galileo showed the Doge of Venice how to use the telescope (Fresco by Giuseppe Bertini) photo: wikipedia
On January 8th 1642 died the Italian Galileo Galilei, mathematician, astronomer and physicist Italian Renaissance.

Galileo escaped in extremis by burning at the stake, but was jailed at home until the end of life, for the impudence to present realities heliocentric system. Galileo was rehabilitated until 31 October 1992, nearly 350 years after his death, by Pope John Paul II.

Galileo continued to receive visitors until 1642, when, after suffering fever and heart palpitations, he died on 8 January 1642, aged 77. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando II, wished to bury him in the main body of the Basilica of Santa Croce, next to the tombs of his father and other ancestors, and to erect a marble mausoleum in his honour.

These plans were dropped, however, after Pope Urban VIII and his nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini, protested,because Galileo had been condemned by the Catholic Church for "vehement suspicion of heresy He was instead buried in a small room next to the novices'chapel at the end of a corridor from the southern transept of the basilica to the sacristy.

Tomb of Galileo, Santa Croce, Florence photo: wikipedia

He was reburied in the main body of the basilica in 1737 after a monument had been erected there in his honour;during this move, three fingers and a tooth were removed from his remains.One of these fingers, the middle finger from Galileo's right hand, is currently on exhibition at the Museo Galileo in Florence, Italy

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