Physics Cabinet of the Museum for Science and Technology Florence (FirST)

The largest and most comprehensive collection of Italian 19th century equipment for the study and teaching of physics


FirST Museum - Firenze Scienza e Tecnica, via Giusti 29 - 50121 Firenze

The Physics Cabinet of the Science and Technology Foundation of Florence preserves the largest and most comprehensive collection of Italian 19th Century equipment for Physics study and teaching. From the middle of the 19th Century to the beginning of the 20th Century, the collection was significantly enriched, and it is today a unique collection of its kind.

Physics Cabinet of the Museum for Science and Technology Florence (FirST)

The Physics Cabinet was the brainchild of Filippo Corridi, the first director of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano - the Tuscan Institute for Technology - who equipped it with a substantial collection of instruments to back up a highly ambitious teaching program “to promote the study of the applied sciences and the progress of the useful industries of the arts and of manufacturing.”

Later, thanks to the efforts of Silvestro Gherardi, the physicist and science historian appointed by the government to direct the institute during the period when Florence was capital of Italy (late 1860s), the collection grew even larger, and ‘The Physics Cabinet’ became the city’s primary center of excellence for studies and research in physics, a role it continued to perform until the first few decades of the 20th century.

The collection has survived virtually intact through to the present day, even though it has suffered considerable neglect. Following intense efforts to identify, restore, and catalog the instruments, the entire collection has now been reordered in a manner not dissimilar to how a visitor would have seen it at the beginning of the 20th century. ‘The Physics Cabinet’s collection of 19th-century scientific instruments, remarkable for its consistency and completeness, is without a doubt the most important collection of its kind in Italy and one of the fullest in Europe. The devices illustrated in 19th-century physics books can be found, with few exceptions, here’. They were produced by leading French, German, and English manufacturers, though some were also made in the workshop adjoining the Cabinet. Besides the host of teaching instruments, there are other more complex and sophisticated ones that were used in various branches of research.

‘The Physics Cabinet’ today is a rare and amazing “time machine” - it offers a myriad of discoveries and a goldmine of information for scholars of the history of science and technique and is a real source of interest and marvel for visitors.

Before You Book

PLEASE NOTE: Immediately after submitting an order, you will receive two emails. The first email contains your order summary (this one you receive immediately after placing your order), the second email confirms your successful payment (one business day after placing the order). In order to receive these two emails, please make sure that you enter your email address correctly and check that antispam or antivirus filters do not block emails from our [email protected] address. Users of AOL, Comcast and need to pay special attention to this, please. Vouchers will also be available, one business day after the request, at your dashboard.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The time you select on the order form is your preferred time. The closest available time, which can be anytime during opening hours on the selected date, will be automatically confirmed if your preferred time is no longer available.


September 16 to June 14:

  • Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 10:30 am to 2:30 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

June 15 to September 15:

  • Wednesday to Sunday 10:00 am to 1:00 pm


Reservations must be made with a minimum of 1 day notice.

Reservations are limited to 30 persons maximum.

Cancellation Policy

Once a confirmation code has been assigned to your reservation, we can refund the cost of unused tickets, also for no-shows, minus a service fee (reservation fee and online booking fee).


By car
The Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica is located in a traffic-limited zone. It is best, therefore, to park your car (in a paid parking lot) either on Viale Matteotti or in Piazzale Donatello.

By bus
Buses 8, 80 and 33 travel the zone of the “Viali” [boulevards]. From the central train station of Santa Maria Novella you can catch bus 31, 32 or 6. Get off at the Via della Colonna stop. Various ATAF buses stop in Piazza San Marco : lines 6,7,10,11,17,20,25, 31, 32, 33, and the “C” electronic bus.

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