Medici Villa di Castello & Stargazing at the Piazzale Michelangelo

We visited the Medici Villa di Castello which is an elegant villa and a beautiful Italian garden second to the Boboli Gardens located in Florence. The villa wasn’t accessible to the public because it’s a school dedicated to the study of the Italian language since 1583 known as the Crusca Academy. The villa dates back to the 14th century and the Medici family bought it in 1477. Cosmo I dei Medici turned this place into a magnificent residence to celebrate the greatness of the Medici family. He ordered Giorgio Vasari to restore the villa and Niccolo Tribolo to protect the Italian garden. The garden was designed by Tribolo in 1538 and represents one of the first Italian gardens in history. This garden inspired the same architect for his next creation, Boboli Gardens.

Later on that night, a group of us walked up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, another high point where you’re able to get a beautiful view of the city of Florence. With us, we brought the two types of telescopes we had made in our Saturday classes back in May (the Kepler and Galileo telescope) along with a pair of binoculars owned by a 9 year-old. Our focal point was the moon. What was so special about this night we went stargazing was that it was the onset of Summer meaning we were able to see the Summer Solstice. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

I used the Galileo telescope first to look at the moon. It’s not as good as the Kepler telescope. It was very clear, but it wasn’t as magnified. The Kepler telescope was super magnified and pretty clear. You were able to see the full moon filling the lens of the Kepler telescope. The moon still looked pretty close using the Galileo telescope, but it wasn’t as close. Galileo made his first telescope in 1609 modeled after telescopes produced in other parts of Europe and created a telescope that could magnify objects twenty times. With this telescope, he was the first person to look at the moon and saw that it was a planet and not flat, he discovered the four satellites of Jupiter, observed a supernova, verified the phases of Venus and discovered sunspots. His discoveries proved the Copernican system which states that earth and other planets revolve around the sun.

Upper viewpoint of the Medici Villa di Castello

Another viewpoint of the Medici Villa di Castello

Fountain of Hercules and Antaeus 
Sunset at the Piazzale Michelangelo 

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