Sigmund Freud and a night in Florence with Galileo Galilei
In September 1896 Sigmund Freud was passing through Florence.
In an unpublished letter addressed to his wife Martha and their children who were in Vienna dated 7 September 1896, the Austrian psychoanalyst is delighted to describe a particular event that happened to him a few nights before at Arcetri where Galileo Galieli observed the stars:
“… We read of Torre del Gallo: a belvedere on the hills where Galilei, who stayed there for a long time, watched the sky. We arrive when it was dark, the guard lights the lights, shows us the room of Galileo, his various portraits, his telescope, and so on. In the end we find that all this belongs to a certain Count Galletti, who lives upstairs and this year rents the ground floor. Suddenly we have an idea: the solemnity of the place, the peace, the view and the garden have enchanted us. We let down the count (really a handsome man, said by mistake) that, with descendants, proposes a high figure for Italy, but modest compared to the current prices in Vienna. In short, the next morning we move to full board. I want to describe our lunch: Above the table hangs the famous portrait of Galilei painted by Sustermann, in front is Cardinal Francesco de ‘Medici, while the sideboard is under a Madonna with a child on a golden background of the 11th century. And then weapons, hourglasses, bronzes, the framed Cromwell letter, etc., and so on. Many points open up to Florence. Now, just as I am writing, a sea of glittering lights, similar to the sight that Bellevue enjoys. Only instead of Vienna there is Florence. All this miracle lasts for three days, then on Friday we telegram early morning announcing our return journey, during which we will probably disfigure all our sins. “
Freud has always been stunned by the Italian artistic and architectural beauties that aroused in him mixed feelings of hatred and love.
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