Since its founding in 1891, many people have passed through the doors of the Vatican Observatory. A quick perusal of our guestbook reveals several Names, including Popes, nobel laureates, astronauts, actors, and saints.
Today’s guestbook entry is from January 18, 1912, when Nello Venturi Ginori made a visit.
Next to his name, Nello Venturi Ginori Lisci (1884-1943) wrote simply, “Firenze” (Florence).
He was part of an Italian noble family from the region of Florence, the son of Ippolito Venturi Ginori, and apparently a descendent of King James I.
He studied astronomy in university, but from 1908-1911 he bowed to family pressure and became a banker in Argentina. At the time of his visit to the Specola, he had returned to Florence and was looking to get back into astronomy. He was accompanied on the visit by Giorgio Abetti, of the Observatory of the Roman College. (Please see the previous Specola Guestbook post on Giorgio Abetti. Also, Abetti wrote the memorial for him after his death.)
His astronomical interests involved variable stars, sunspots, and comets. He constructed an observatory in Belmonte, equipping it with an 8-inch Cooke equatorial refractor. He also collaborated with the observatory at Arcetri (near Galileo’s villa). He also made contributions to meteorology and geodesy. In 1913-1914, he joined an Italian scientific expedition to the Himalayas, serving as the group’s meteorologist.