"I, who had walked the streets of Rome in Genoa velvet and had seen the stars through Galileo's tube"
Galileo Galilei by Sustermans (1636)
Public DomainGalileo Galilei (1636) - Credit: Justus Sustermans

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was an Italian mathematician, physicist and astronomer, often described as the Father of Modern Science.

He published accounts of his telescopic studies (hence, the reference to Galileo's tube) which argued the sun was the centre of the universe, contradicting the prevailing earth-centred viewpoint.

Velvet is a soft, smooth fabric with a very dense pile. In the 16th Century, particularly fine velvet began to be produced in the Italian city of Genoa. Genoan velvet was noted for particular designs created by contrasting cut and uncut pile.

Click here to see an example of Genoan velvet.