The Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica was founded in 1987 as an initiative of the Tuscan Region and of the Province and Municipality of Florence, with the scientific support of the Museo Galileo. Its aim was to promote and spread scientific and technological culture, starting from the recovery and enhancement of the historic and scientific patrimony of the 19th-century Istituto Tecnico Toscano. The cultural design of the Fondazione is the result of the contribution of ideas and proposals drawn up by the scientists present in its bodies, the cultural institutions with which it collaborates, and the researchers and technicians who operate in the various sectors of its activity.
The aim of the Fondazione is to present and make available a patrimony that has an extremely high value, but which up to now has remained almost unknown and has been conserved in its original location for more than a century. This is a rich collection, unique in Italy, of more than fifty thousand items, divided up between naturalistic collections, scientific instruments, models of machinery, manufactured products, and collections of books of historical interest. In developing the potentials offered by this precious inheritance, the Fondazione intends to promote a permanent activity of spreading scientific culture by setting up an original laboratory in which the appropriate use of historic equipment is flanked by that of current technologies and modern communications techniques.
The Fondazione is located in a large building that the Municipality of Florence commissioned to be built in 1891 in Via del Mandorlo – now Via Giusti – in order to provide a reception commensurate with the imposing collections of the Istituto Tecnico Toscano, which until then had been housed in the ancient Convento delle Cavalieresse di Malta in Via San Gallo.
The right wing of the complex is devoted to the Fondazione. This is an area of about 2500 square metres, distributed over five levels. In terms of the size and quality of its spaces, it provides an extraordinary opportunity for realising an important cultural structure in the heart of Florence.
The Planetarium of Florence – managed by the Fondazione together with the Museo Galileo and the Astrophysical Observatory of Arcetri - was inaugurated in 2002 in the presence of the President of the Republic.