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Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei

Pisa 1564 - Arcetri 1642

‘Galileo’s library’ includes more than 500 works which the Galilean expert Antonio Favaro has indicated as belonging to the private library of the great scientist.
In his work La libreria di Galileo Galilei («Bullettino di bibliografia e di storia delle scienze matematiche e fisiche», XIX, 1886, pp. 219-293), and in the two subsequent appendixes of 1887 and 1896, Favaro reconstructs the Galilean library by referring to various archival sources, including the works of Galileo himself, the printed matter and his correspondence as conserved in the Galilean Collection of the National Library of Florence, the inventories of the inheritance of his descendents and of his assistant Vincenzo Viviani. The result is a detailed picture of what Galileo read over the course of his long study and research activity: most of the works are indicated even down to the particular edition, and only a small number of them contain incomplete, or occasionally inexact, data.
The catalogue is structured in a first section which contains the works of Galileo himself and in another three sections (scientific, literary and artistic works) further subdivided into specific discipline areas.
Within the numerous research projects which the Galileo Museum has undertaken around the person and works of this great scientist, the catalogue of the library of Galileo, as drawn up by Favaro, has been input into a databank which offers the researcher the possibility
to search (by keyword, author, title, editor, date, etc), typical of modern consultation systems.
Recentely Favaro's work is also enriched with further bibliographical records, which are the result of recent research on the subject carried out by Michele Camerota and Crystal Hall. A total of 600 volumes, that were certainly in the availability of Galileo, have thus been identified.
More than 300 works are available in digital version, accessible from the bibliographic form of the online catalogue.
To consult the online databank in the site of the Galilean museum click on the link:

Bibliography: U. Baldini, Galilei, Galileo, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 51 (1998); M. Giaquinta, Galilei, Galileo, in Il Contributo italiano alla storia del Pensiero. Filosofia (2012).

Studies on the library: M. Torrini, La biblioteca di Galileo e dei galileiani, «Intersezioni», XXI, 2001, pp. 545-558; M. Camerota, La biblioteca di Galileo. Alcune integrazioni e aggiunte desunte dal carteggio, in Biblioteche filosofiche private in età moderna e contemporanea, Atti del Convegno di Cagliari, 21-23 aprile 2009, a cura di F.M. Crasta, Firenze, Le Lettere 2011, pp. 81-95; C. Hall, Galileo's library reconsidered, «Galilaeana», a. 12 (2015), pp. 29-82.

Biblioteca del Museo Galileo, biblioteca di Galileo

The library directory lists the inventory number which each work had in the bibliography of Antonio Favaro  (La libreria di Galileo Galilei descritta e illustrata, «Bullettino di Bibliografia e di storia delle Scienze matematiche e fisiche», XIX,  1886, pp. 219-293; Appendice alla prima libreria di Galileo Galilei descritta e illustrata, «Bullettino di Bibliografia e di Storia delle Scienze Matematiche e fisiche», XX,  1887, pp. 372-376). The works are ordered alphabetically, preceded by a section of anonymous texts (literary or on various topics).

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Alessandra Lenzi
(Museo Galileo - Istituto e Museo di storia della scienza, Firenze)
last modify: 2023-11-30 17:03:25