Caverni, Raffaello, Storia del metodo sperimentale in Italia, 1891-1900

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third of seven children of a modest family which owned a kiln and delivered
bricks and other construction material to builders, especially in Florence, with
their own barocci, the traditional two-wheeled carts which, horse-drawn and
balanced, have for centuries performed this task over the greater part of the
Italian countryside.
Less sturdy than the other children, he was sent to the town
school where, it seems, he distinguished himself so well that at the age of
thirteen, having already decided on his vocation, he went to Florence to study.

Since there was no seminary then, he became one of the young clergy of the
Cathedral and enrolled in the Collegio Eugeniano, an excellent school of
humanistic leaning, where he completed the entire course corresponding to
what would later be the Gymnasium.
His success there seemed to point to the
concinuation of literary studies, but Caverni had already made another choice.

For three years after the Collegio he attended the public Scuole Pie, run by the
Scolopian Fathers at S. Giovannino.
There he received a basis foundation in
what were to become his favorite subjects: philosophy, taught by the Rosminian
Father Zini, and physics with Father Cecchi who together with Father Antonelli
was to furnish the loggia dei Lanzi in 1860 with a pair of exceptional instru-
ments: a thermometer and a barometer with a face of more than 1.5 meters.

Then, instead of going to the University, for a few years he attended the
Istituto Ximeniano, also run by the Scolopians, where he had Antonelli for
astronomy and higher mathematics and Father Barsanti for mechanics and
hydraulics.
And thus he became a priest with the hobby of philosophy and
science, following an inclination which seems traditional in the Florentine
clergy—the desire to reconcile what appears to be irreconcilable!

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