Galileo Demonstrates His Telescope to Venetian Lawmakers

Galileo Galilei, a most humble servant of Your Serene Highness, being diligently attentive, with all his spirit, not only to discharging the duties pertaining to the lecturing of mathematics at the University of Padua, but also to bringing extraordinary benefit to Your Serene Highness with some useful and remarkable invention, now appear before You with a new contrivance of glasses, drawn from the most recondite speculations of perspective, which render visible objects so close to the eye and represent them so distinctly that those that are distant, for example, nine miles appear as though they were only one mile distant. This is a thing of inestimable benefit for all transactions and undertakings, maritime or terrestrial, allowing us at sea to discover at a much greater distance than usual the hulls and sails of the enemy, so that for two hours or more we can detect him before he detects us... ”

— Galileo Galilei, to the Doge of Venice

The 4 faces of the Bell tower of Saint Mark correspond in 4 cardinal points. It is there that Galileo introduced his Telescope to the Senate of Venice and to the Doge.

Thanks to the intervention of his friend Paolo Sarpi, Galileo was invited to introduce his telescope in Venice.

August 21st, 1609 Galileo is at the top of the Bell tower with the Doge Leonardo Donato and of members of the Senate. The senator Antonio di Gerolamo Priuli left a description.

Thanks to this demonstration Galileo was named professor to the University of Padua and accepted a 1,000 florin pension a year.

The instrument was pointed toward Padua, its source and its inspiration, and there in the eyepiece the shimmering shape of the Tower of Saint Giustina, thirty-five miles away, took shape; then to the distant towns, west to Treviso, south to Chioggia, and even to Conegliano, more than fifty miles away in the northern foothills; then to Murano where the Senators were astonished to see the devout entering the church of San Giacomo; then to Collona, at the mouth of the Rio de' Verieri, the river of the glassmakers in Murano, where they watched tiny figures board their gondolas. They turned the tube seaward, out into the Adriatic, and saw galleys on the horizon that would be another two hours full sail before they could be seen in Venice with the naked eye. The naval high command, hard pressed by pirates on the high seas, knew the importance of this.