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Monterubbiano, Palazzo Calzecchi Onesti









On a gentle hill to the north of the river Aso stands the town of Monterubbiano. It has been awarded the illustrious Orange Flag by Touring Club Italiano, because it is an inland area distinguished for constant enhancement of its cultural assets, protection of the environment, a culture of hospitality, accessibility of resources and the quality of its restaurants and local products. The town near Fermo is also well-known because according to the legend it attracted the woodpecker which in the 5th century B.C. led the Sabines to a new settlement, thanks to the red berries of the Rubia that were scattered abundantly over the area. As well as being the beating heart of fabulous legends, Monterubbiano has in its main square the fine palazzo of the famous scientist Temistocle Calzecchi Onesti. On a brick inserted between the windows to the right of the front door are carved the dates 1553 and 1562 which probably correspond to the years in which the building work was started and finished. The house, which reflects the architectural ideals of the renaissance such as harmony, symmetry and proportion, has only four windows with rounded arches surrounded by sandstone rustication along the ground floor and five architraved windows on the upper floor. The house was the home of Temistocle Calzecchi Onesti, an excellent physicist and mathematician, unfortunately still not well known, who between 1884 and 1885 published a discovery which was crucial for Guglielmo Marconi and his first two-way wireless radio device. After years devoted to teaching in schools such as the Royal Technical Institute of l’Aquila, the Annibal Caro Classical Lyceum of Fermo and the Cesare Beccaria Classical Lyceum of Milan, he began a long period of research. Following various experiments the Lapedona-born scientist understood that after excitation metal filings were excellent conductors of electricity. On the basis of this important discovery, the distinguished physics teacher designed the so-called filing tube which was later named the coherer and was used by Guglielmo Marconi in the first wireless telegraph to pick up electromagnetic waves. The studies carried out by Onesti and the considerable results achieved by him, anticipated by many years those of the French physicist Édouard Branly and the English scientist Sir Oliver Lodge who both for a long time claimed the discovery of the coherer. Besides this invention, many remember Temistocle Calzecchi Onesti as the man who in 1886 set up an efficient and innovative meteorological observatory in the physics laboratories of the Classical Lyceum of Fermo.



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