Historical heritage

The INAF Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri has the duty to preserve and valorise a historical heritage consisting of archival documentation, instruments and ancient volumes.
The conservation and reconstruction of  the past are recent phenomena at the Arcetri Observatory:
towards the end of the 1950s various instruments no longer in use, a part of the ancient book collection, and some documentary funds were transferred to the Institute and Museum of the History of Science. It was only at the end of the 1990s that full awareness of the importance of the history of the Observatory finally emerged, and projects aimed at the protection and valorisation of its cultural heritage were established. Through a complex and articulated path of retrievals and acquisitions, it was possible to recompose the historical archive, while a careful study of past inventories made it possible to reconstruct the instrument collection that is currently on display partly in the Galileo Museum and partly in the Observatory. Among the ancient volumes owned by the Observatory, stands out a copy of the 1632 edition of Galileo Galilei’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, with autographed notes by Antonio Favaro, the editor of the National Edition of Galileo’s works. This copy likely showed in its frontispiece the signature of Galileo himself.


A Brief History of the Observatory

Historical research

Historical archive


inaugurazione1872 OAMP

Observatory inauguration, 27/10/1872 (courtesy of Archivio INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Monte Porzio)

Contacts: Antonella Gasperini