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Natural History Museum

The University Museum System originates and draws its identity from the Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence, of which it preserves the material and immaterial tradition, over four centuries long.

The most ancient nucleus of the Museum is represented by the "Giardino dei Semplici", commissioned in 1545 by Cosimo I dei Medici, who had the merit of establishing a botanical garden where medicinal plants were studied and cultivated, when Florence was at the center of the development of humanities and natural sciences.

The establishment in 1775 of the first naturalistic museum open to the public, the Imperial and Royal Museum of Physics and Natural History, is due to the love for science and the passion for natural things of Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo of Lorraine. In the Palazzo Torrigiani, now home to La Specola, the Medici collections of "natural things" were gathered and expanded and nature was shown in its entirety: from mineralogy to astronomy, through botany, zoology and anthropology.

Based on this unitary vision of scientific knowledge, all such heritage, enriched by centuries of studies and research, has merged into the Museum of Natural History, founded in 1984 with the aim of unifying the numerous collections held by the University of Florence. 

Today there are three units that make up the Museum: Palazzo Nonfinito, with the ethno-anthropological and osteological collections, and the historical photographic archive; 'La Specola', with the anatomical waxes, the litho-mineralogical and the zoological collections; 'La Pira', with the geo-paleontological and botanical collections, and the Botanical Gardens.


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