This amusing piece of news comes directly from the press office of the newly re-opened Museo Galileo: They've found Galileo's missing fingers and tooth in a 19th-century reliquary, now on display alongside another body part already owned by the museum. An unusual case of almost religious devotion to science... On the occasion of its reopening, the Museo Galileo is exhibiting for the first time relics of the great scientist - two fingers and a tooth - thought to be lost, but recently found by chance. Their authenticity has been confirmed by the Soprintendente al Polo Museale Fiorentino, Cristina Acidini, and the Director of the Museo Galileo, Paolo Galluzzi. This important discovery was made by the Florentine collector Alberto Bruschi, who states:
It happened by chance, but all thanks to my daughter Candida Bruschi and her love of collecting. Without her, I would never have bought this object.The object in question is a nineteenth-century reliquary put up for auction by the Pandolfini auction house last October. Probably its former owner was unaware of its contents, given the starting price of 650-800 euros. The catalogue describing it as follows: “inlaid and turned wood, à jour upper part with glass cylinder inside containing a relic.” “I bid on it at the express request of my daughter”, recalls Bruschi. “She is very religious, she collects reliquaries, and she asked me to buy just that lot for her. The price went up to several thousand euros before I finally got it. Then I brought it home in a taxi in a bag that Pandolfini gave me.”
Candida immediately noticed the small wooden bust surmounting the reliquary. It looks like Galileo, she said. A few days later, that first distracted intuition became a strong suspicion. The theses that Candida was writing at the time involved, in fact, Galileo’s tomb in the Basilica of Santa Croce, and she had happened to read the article by Professor Galluzzi on the disinterment of the scientist’s remains. That article opened her eyes. She phoned Dr. Acidini, who called Galluzzi. The mystery was happily solved thanks to them.
Galileo had gastric reflux and was a tooth-grinderThe tooth - a premolar - has been examined by surgical dentist Cesare Paoleschi:
Although badly worn, it provides some interesting information on Galileo’s health. The erosion may be due to gastric reflux. Loss of the bone attachment (parodontitis) is also evident, showing that the tooth must have given him some pain. The extensive worn surfaces reveal a tendency to bruxism: that is, Galileo ground his teeth while sleeping.