To the discerning reader

Al Discreto Lettore

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Galileo appeals to readers "fully aware of their intellectual powers, discerning and clever" (as he himself says).

This text has a complicated history: Revised by Galileo when he was staying in Rome in May and June 1630 with the ecclesiastical censor, Niccolò Riccardi, the text was examined and rejected by the censor on at least two further occasions before, in July 1631, it took the form imposed by the authorities and known to us.

The reading and content of the preface give rise to a number of problems since it is not clearly apparent which parts are attributed to Galileo and which to Riccardi.