- On 5 November 2014
The mistery of Galileo’s tomb
Today Galileo Galilei is buried in the church of Santa Croce or ‘Holy Cross’, but this was not always the case.
Condemned by the church for purporting theories in contrast to those of the Vatican, Pope Urban VII initially refused to let Galileo be buried in one of the monumental tombs of the church and it was left to local friars to bury him in an unmarked area of the church called the Cappella del Noviziato.
Galileo’s reputation within the church was officially “rehabilitated” in 1992 by Pope John Paul II, even if his theories became popular since the XVII century onwards, among Enlightenment thinkers. It was during that century that his body was disinterred and placed in the actual tomb – sounds unbelievable but it’s true!
There is still a lot of curiosity surrounding the event second burial due mostly to the fact that when the grave was open two other bodies were found.
One was identified as the pupil and curator of Galileo’s works, Vincenzo Viviani, and that one of a woman though to be younger than Galileo.
While there is no proof of the identity of the woman’s body, many believe that she is the beloved daughter, Maria Celeste, of Galileo and it’s likely his pupil Viviani laid the bodies together moved by the devotion to his master (when Galileo died he had been unable to see his daughter due to his criminal sentence.)
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