In the Footsteps of Galileo

Portrait of Galileo Galilei

Portrait of Galileo Galilei

Did you know it is the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s discovery of the telescope? I am very excited to be escorting this unique trip with Smithsonian Journeys which will take us through the major landmarks where Galileo lived, studied, and wrote his most landmark achievements. Leading us is an expert in communicating the wonderment of science to all types of audiences – popular Harvard scientist, David Aguilar.

Some highlights include Venice’s Murano Glass Factory to learn about the art of glass-making and see where Galileo obtained the very glass used in his telescope lenses. Later we are off to an evening of stargazing in Padua from the place where Galileo first discovered Jupiter’s moons, telling him more of the nature of orbiting planets in our solar system and directly contradicting established beliefs that everything revolved around the Earth. In Florence, we’ll visit where the great astronomer’s theories were first attacked from the pulpit in Santa Maria Novella, the city’s first great basilica and principal Dominican church. And in Arcetri, we’ll enjoy stunning views and glimpse the Villa il Gioello, where the persecuted scientist spent the final years of his life.

Off to a fascinating voyage of discovery and we still have a few spots left – please join us!

October 11-18, 2009, with Smithsonian Journeys

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Smithsonian Journeys: Insider’s Florence

The Duomo of Santa Maria in Florence
The Duomo of Santa Maria in Florence

The Smithsonian Journeys Insider’s Florence tour is coming up in March, 2009. I am anticipating a successful program full of behind-the-scenes visits, memorable experiences and special access to private homes and gardens.  We will have special guest lectures, access to the restoration laboratory of the Uffizi and a private visit to the Uffizi and Vasari Corridor.
 
Florence was the birth place of the Renaissance, the city that gave us Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, Toscanelli, Gucci, Pucci and many more artists, inventors, designers, and geniuses that it is fair to say the world would be immeasurably poorer and less beautiful without their efforts.

We all have our images of Tuscany in our minds: for some it’s the magnificent art, silent hill towns, gorgeous leather bags and shoes and handsome people. For others the enduring charm of Tuscany is in a relaxing glass of red wine, in the hills that look exactly as they did when Leonardo painted them, and in the waiter who’s a dead ringer for Lorenzo de’Medici.

Yet for many it is the simple, neat line of cypress trees that crown hill tops or run along roadsides like so many exclamation points that best defines Tuscany . However one approaches Tuscany, the values evoked are beauty and perfection.

A Chianti vineyard

A Chianti vineyard

Many travelers are seduced as you cannot fail to be by the picturesque landscape and the beauty that man created so much so that some settle here permanently.  That’s what happened to me, I intended to stay in Tuscany for 2 years, and that was 19 years ago.  Travelers have been coming to this region ever since the Middle Ages, to learn, to see and understand.  In the Renaissance, Tuscany served as a haven for humanist scholars, inventors, writers and artists. In our generation, it was first the English, then the Germans, Swiss, and finally the Americans  who descended on Tuscany, soaking up the sun, enjoying the food and adopting the Italian way of life.   
 
Take a week and live life in Florence; walk in the footsteps f Michelangelo and the Medici, and learn why the Renaissance was born in Florence. I hope to see you in March.

Elaine Ruffolo

Study Leader – Insider’s Florence  

Smithsonian Journeys

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