Top Ten Afterlife Journeys of Notable People

Why Beethoven, Galileo, Napoleon and others never truly rested in peace

(© Lebrecht Authors/Lebrecht Music & Arts/Corbis)

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Galileo Galilei

Deemed a heretic for his heliocentric beliefs, Galileo did not receive a proper burial after he died in 1642. Almost a century later, members of the scientific community unearthed his remains, moving them into a marble tomb in Santa Croce Basilica in Florence—but not before taking a few souvenirs: several fingers, a tooth and a vertebra. The backbone eventually appeared at the University of Padua, his middle finger in a collection that spawned the Galileo Museum. The rest disappeared in 1905, but was recovered at a Florence auction three years ago, and now resides in the eponymous museum.


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