by Luciano Artusi and Vincenzo Giannetti
The hill of Arcetri
Even today the spirits of Galileo, the searching eye of the Universe, and sublime Michelangelo, who worked so hard on the construction of the defence system against the enemy during the seige of Florence of 1529-30, when the city became an impregnable fortress, seem to be hovering over the hill of Arcetri.
A corner of Villa Capponi
The leader of the enemy troops, Philibert of Chalons, Prince of Orange, had set up camp at Pian di Giullari. The prince apparently always dressed very elegantly, rode beautifully caparisoned horses and wore a suit of armour of pure silver. From these heights, the Imperial artillery bombarded the tower of San Miniato and the city below, while Lapo, the Florentine bombardier, fired back at them with two small cannon, known as "falcons", from the bell tower of San Miniato, which was protected all around by bales of wool.
Bust of Galileo Galilei
However this hill is linked above all to the name of Galileo Galilei who spent the last few years of his life at Villa Il Gioiello, where he dictated his "Dialogues concerning Two New Sciences", a book that was to be fundamental for modern knowledge.
Via San Matteo in Arcetri
Taken from "Walks around the hills of Florence" by Luciano Artusi and Vincenzo Giannetti. © 1997 SEMPER EDITRICE FIRENZE