Francesco Denza (1834-1894)

Francesco Denza was an Italian meteorologist and astronomer.

Francesco Denza was born on June 7, 1834 in Naples. He joined the Barnabites at the age of sixteen, and during his theological course at Rome studied at the same time meteorology and astronomy under Father Angelo Secchi. Denza represented the pope at the Paris astronomical congress of 1887, when the plan was formulated of making a photographic map of all the stars in the heavens down to the fourteenth magnitude; through his influence the Vatican Observatory was one of the eighteen chosen to carry out this important project. Denza was appointed director of the Vatican Observatory in September, 1890, and thenceforth lived at the Vatican. Here he inaugurated the work of this observatory in stellar photography.

Institute Denza was founded in Naples in 1943. It operates elementary, secondary and high schools. The school has a medal showing the half left facing portrait of Denza. Legend around him is: "FRANCESCO M. DENZA" and below: "BARNABITA ASTRONOMO".

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On the reverse the badge of the school is visible in laureate. In the center the name of the institute, below two date 69-70 is placed. This later is engraved. It is not clear who got this medal. It has an ear so it must have been wearable.