Villa Galileo is the home where the great scientist spent the last part of his life, confined to house arrest by the condemnation of the Holy Office of 1633.
Part of an estate called "Il Gioiello", the Villa, since 1920 National Monument, belongs to the State Property, historical and artistic sector, under the management of the University of Florence, which, through the University Museum System, takes care of the maintenance and promotion of the Villa and the surrounding land where Galileo had his own vegetable garden.
Restored in 2006, the Villa hosts conferences and seminars - organized by research and advanced training centres in Arcetri, united by the agreement called "Il Colle di Galileo" - and can be visited by appointment.
In October 2018, thanks to a project promoted by Fondazione CR Firenze and 'Il Colle di Galileo' with the support of the Galileo Museum and the Accademia dei Georgofili, a new exhibition was inaugurated with installations focused on the reconstruction and furnishings of some significant rooms: the study, the kitchen and the cellar. In the first, one of the most evocative rooms of the complex, the furniture is authentic, from the seventeenth century or the previous century, chosen by antique dealers also guided by the inventory of the villa written in the times following the death of Galileo.
The cellars and the kitchen were intact but totally devoid of furniture. Their reconstruction, curated by the Accademia dei Georgofili, was based on studies that allowed the curators to define a probable hypothesis of the materials used and of the objects contained: the barrels and the small vat were built following the techniques of the time; other containers are antiques. Flasks, pitchers and glass goblets were reproduced by looking at the paintings of the time, while a wooden table and stools were created according to styles taken from contemporary iconographic representations.
The Villa and its garden still tell of Galileo's scientific studies, the family affections, his relations with the students and his passion for the vineyards.
Galileo rented the Villa in 1631, driven by his daughter Virginia, a nun with the name of Sister Maria Celeste, together with her younger sister, in the monastery of San Matteo, just 300 meters away. The daughters wished that the father, now an elderly man, lived near and, to visit them, should not have to face the two hours of travel on the back of a mule, necessary to reach them from the villa of Bellosguardo where he lived before moving to Villa Il Gioiello.
Here, from the window of the room he chose as a studio, Galileo could see the vineyard of his daughters' convent, the Verdea di Arcetri, which produced wine. With him lived the maid Piera who took care of the daily chores following the attentive orders of Virginia, who, despite being a cloistered nun, managed the practical aspects of her father's life from the convent.
It was in the Villa that it originated, for his first print run in 1632, the manuscript of the Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemidel mondo (Dialogue above the two greatest systems of the world), seized after a few months and subsequently republished in Holland. Within these same walls, Galileo completed his last major work, the Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematicheintorno a due nuove scienze (Discourses and mathematical demonstrations around two new sciences), published in 1638 in Holland when Galileo had already become completely blind.
The blindness did not stop him from working and many collaborators alternated at the Villa to help him. Among these, Vincenzo Viviani and Evangelista Torricelli, disciples and interlocutors of learned scientific discussions, who lived at "Il Gioiello" with Galileo in the last months of the life of their Master.
Galileo died at the Villa on 8 January 1642 and was buried in a secondary room in the Basilica of Santa Croce with no solemn celebrations.
The Villa can be visited only by appointment and through a guided tour. The cost of the tour is €100 per group (1-25 pax) and will be added to the individual entry ticket of €6 (adult) /3 (concession).