Galileo’s Fingers at Galileo Museum

On March 12, 1737, while they transferred the mortal remains of Galileo from the small room near the chapel of the novices of the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Florence, someone ripped off three fingers and the only tooth the corpse had, either to sell them to the highest bidder or to store them as relics in the belief that they possessed sacred powers.

Some time later, the tooth and two of the fingers were discovered in a suitably sealed glass urn in which they remained until at least 1905 when they lost track.

At the end of 2009, a private collector bought them at an auction and delivered his precious find to the Galileo Museum in Florence to undertake a study to verify its origin.

The tests that were carried out proved the authenticity of the urn and its content, they became part of its permanent collection and are exposed to the public next to the third finger that in 1737 was torn from Galileo’s hand.


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