Arts + Culture

The World's Weirdest Museums

Museo Galileo, Florence, Italy

Who should go: Science nerds who want to be flicked off by Galileo

Expect the unexpected: Among the five centuries' worth of scientific instruments—17th-century globes, barometers, compound microscopes, and more than 1,000 other objects—housed in Florence's Museo Galileo is one acquisition worth pointing out: Galileo Galilei's mummified middle finger displayed in a gold and glass reliquary (pointing skyward, of course).

Curious collection: Three fingers, a tooth, and a vertebra were nabbed from the astronomer's body when it was exhumed 95 years after his death. The spinal segment ended up at the University of Padua (where Galileo taught), and the middle finger "changed hands" several times before it came to rest in the Museo Galileo's collection. The tooth and other fingers were thought lost until they unexpectedly showed up at auction last year. In June 2010, the missing bits and pieces were reunited with the middle digit, as well as the astronomer's telescopes, the objective lens he used to discover Jupiter's moons, and the rest of his surviving scientific instruments.

Museo Galileo
1 Piazza dei Giudici
Florence, Italy
Tel: 39 055 265 311

Next: The abominable snowman's home in Maine >

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