Collections of Physics Cabinet

Physics Cabinet


The Physics Cabinet was the brainchild of Filippo Corridi, the first director of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano, who equipped it with a substantial collection of instruments to back up a highly ambitious teaching programme: “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 in the period when Florence was the capital of Italy, the collection grew even larger, and ‘The Physics Cabinet’ became the city’s primary centre 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 to the present day, even though it has suffered considerable neglect.
Following intense efforts to identify, restore and catalogue 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, which is 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, in ‘The Physics Cabinet’. 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 history of science and technics scholars and is a real source of interest and marvel for visitors.


Contact the Physical Cabinet’s Coordinator for more information.

The Florence Science and Technology Foundation Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday
. The library is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Adulti: € 8.00
Children: € 6.00

Adults: € 8.00
Children: € 6.00
Planetario + Laboratorio / bambini: € 10.00
By reservation only

Discount of € 1.00 for
- soci Coop

Via Giuseppe Giusti, 29 50121 Firenze