The Moonstruck Tuscan
Seeing Galileo as the late Renaissance radical that he was
by John Heilbron
$34.95 List Price
In the late Renaissance, many northern Europeans came to Italy in search of a world of natural wonders. The Swiss Hebraist Caspar Waser reported in 1593 to a friend in Basel that he had visited everything from Jewish printing houses in Venice to Roman sites outside Naples. But he dwelled on the natural philosophers whose thrilling museums he had seen: Ulisse Aldrovandi in Bologna and Giambattista della Porta and Francesco Imperato in Naples. Waser gaped at their magnificent collections, the shelves stocked with shells, fossils, monstrous fish, and Siamese-twin animals, the ceilings hung with everything from starfish to crocodiles. He went home believing that the natural philosopher's job was to identify, and then to use, the hidden powers of stones, plants, and animals.
One Italian student of nature whom Waser
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