Barzellini Gian Giuseppe (1730-1804)

24/03/2020

Via Barzellini is known to everyone for the fact that there are prisons there, so much so that in Gorizia saying "in via Barzellini" is equivalent to saying "in prison". The name of an illustrious physicist and astronomer of the eighteenth century, otherwise little known, is thus linked to a prison. Giovanni Giuseppe Barzellini was born in Cormons on 17th February 1730, but he worked in Gorizia, where he died on 7th March 1804. He covered the role of "primo ragionato" (i.e. chief accountant) of the united princes counties of Gorizia and Gradisca, and elaborated the rectification of the Teresian cadastre wanted by Joseph II in 1785, cadastre that was later known also under the name of Barzellini's cadastre. He was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer and meteorologist, and published various works on these subjects. He was also known outside the city: the publication of the "Arcadic ephemerides" (he was "shepherd" of Gorizia's Arcadia under the name of Hipparchus Calistenius) earned him the honour of having his portrait in Rome among those of the illustrious arcadi. He also pointed out the lack of six hyperbolic logarithms of 48 decimals in the logarithmic tables published by the Berlin Academy; these were then included in the next edition of the work. By Barzellini is the valuable sundial perpendicular to the side wall of the Cathedral of Gorizia, restored by the Lions Club Gorizia Maria Theresia after the works outside the church that had made it illegible, and his was also the first balloon successfully raised in Gorizia in 1784. In 1876 the new open street in the Rassauer district was named after him, which linked the Station street to the old Post and Customs streets: later the street was named after General Cascino and Barzellini's name remained only on the final stretch of the street adjacent to the prisons annexed to the Palace of Justice.