On Tuesday, 16th February 2016, our class went together with our English teacher and Prof. Manca to the museum Galileo Galilei where Karen, our guide, brought us downstairs to tell us about the life of Amerigo Vespucci:
Amerigo Vespucci’s family was from Montefioralle, but he was born in Florence in 1454. He had two brothers. His family was poor, but his uncle was rich. Thanks to his uncle, Amerigo studied in the school of Lorenzo the Magnificient in Florence.
He studied many subjects, especially Geography on the book of Ptolemy. He went to Spain in 1492, when Christopher Colombus discovered America.
Amerigo met Christopher Colombus in Seville.
In these years the Turks had blocked the traditional route to India.
For these long voyages they used the Caravels.
The Caravel was 25 m long and was 7 m wide. They were made of wooden planks covered with pitch to make it shipworm proof. The Caravel was made for 40 people. There was only one sleeping room for the captain. The sailors slept on the floor. The hammock was used by the indigenous people and used by the sailors to sleep only after discovering America.
There were different instruments to be used for different needs: to measure the speed they used the logreel. The speed of the ship was measured in knots. To measure the depth they used the soundingline. The sailors used for orientation the compass and the windrose. To measure the time they used a thirthy-minutes sandglass to track how much time had passed. Other useful instruments to measure time were the sundial and the nocturnal.
To determine the latitude they used the astrolabe, the quadrant and the cross staff.
For the voyage the sailors brought a lot of provisions on the Caravel: above all, water and wine in barrels. They boiled the water to preserve it in the barrels. Their bread were the ship biscuits. They brought cured meats, garlic, small farm animals (pigs, sheep, chickens, ecc.), black-eyed beans and chickpeas, peas, wood and cordage.
Three ladles of red wine in the morning and the evening: plus a daily ration of hard, twice-baked biscuits, with double portions on Sundays.
Monday, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays:
Hot soup made of chick-peas, fava beans, lentils and lots of garlic with a drizzle of oil. Onions with vinegar.
Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays: Dried meat
Dried cheese, lard, salted cod fish with rucola, mustard and garlic.
Raisins, almonds, dried figs and honey
The sailors brought from America new types of food to Europe: tomatoes, peppers, red hot chili peppers, potatoes, corn, pineapples, cacaobeans, ecc.
Amerigo was very famous. He was a navigator, explorer, map maker and he discovered North America. He went many times to America and he said that these lands belonged to a New World.
After this presentation we went with our teachers upstairs to visit the museum. There we saw the original Armillary Sphere!At school we watched a video about the Armillary Sphere which was made by Antonio Santucci. This sphere is made of beech wood covered with gold and was ordered by the Medici family. It’s a reduced representation of the geocentric system.
It was a very interesting tour!
a cura di Samuel Centrini