Count Luigi Ferdinando Marsili (1658-1730), nobleman from Bologna, was soldier, diplomat, scientist and deeply interested in arts and literature.
He was born in Bologna on 20 July 1658, he studied in Venice, Padua, Rome and Naples.
He entered the service of the Emperor Leopold, he fell wounded and was taken prisoner by Tartars. He suffered as a slave until he was ransomed two years later.
During the periods he spent abroad as a military, he collected rare and precious material – telescopes, timepieces, astronomical instruments – and sent it to his house in Bologna where students were free to use and study them. In 1712 Marsigli donated his museum to the city of Bologna, and it was moved to the Palazzo Poggi. There he founded his “Institute of Sciences and Arts”, which was formally opened in 1715.
He died in Bologna in 1730.
His extraordinary life passed through important moments and places in Europe between the seventeenth and the eighteenth century, crucial moment for the balance and the destiny of the world.
Marsili was member of the Académie des sciences of Paris and the Royal Society of London, and investigated numerous branches of science: geology, archeology, hydrography, geography, military strategy and astronomy.
He perfectly fit the illuminist spirit with his curiosity in sciences, his observations and experimental trials. On the whole, we got a portrait of deep humanity of this Nobleman who lived a life of passion, outbursts and troubles and founded in his homeland, the Instituto delle Scienze, landmark of sciences in Bologna.