-- While it's doubtful that Galileo's telescopes were the very first of their kind, the 400th anniversary of their first use was apparently momentous enough for the International Astronomical Union to declare 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. (For a list of events worldwide, visit http://www.astronomy2009.us.) One happy result of this is that one of the two Galileo telescopes in existence is on view in Florence's sister city Philadelphia, at the Franklin Institute, through Sept. 7 (215-448-1200, http://www2.fi.edu). The other is also on loan from Florence's Museum of the History of Science (Piazza dei Giudici, 1, 011-39-055-265-311, http://www.imss.fi.it). But it hasn't left town. Through Aug. 30, it will be part of a Palazzo Strozzi exhibit, "Galileo: Images of the Universe From Antiquity to the Telescope" (Piazza Strozzi, 011-39-055-264-5155, http://www.galileofirenze.it). Admission about $13.25. The exhibition is open daily 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday till 11 p.m. Admission to the Museum of the History of Science is about $5.25. Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday and Saturday till 1 p.m.
Galileo's mausoleum is in the nave at the Basilica di Santa Croce (Piazza Santa Croce 16, 011-39-055-246-6105, http://www.santacroce.firenze.it) along with those of Michelangelo and other Italian greats. The church is open 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1-5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission about $6.60. The Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri (Largo E. Fermi 5, 011-39-055-275-21, http://www.arcetri.astro.it) is open by prior arrangement.
The city's food offerings are legendary. Visitors usually pay a visit to the glorious indoor stalls at the Mercato Centrale (Piazza del Mercato Centrale), which is open every day but Sunday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. There are many great restaurants worth a visit, but three good-value establishments are Antico Noe (Volta di San Piero 6/r, 011-39-055-234-0838), Trattoria da Benvenuto (Via della Mosca 16/r, 011-39-055-214-833) and Il Trippaio (Via dei Macci at Borgo della Croce).