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Bas-relief dedicated to the author of the unit of length – the metre – created in Vilnius, Tito Livio Burattini

The term for the unit of length the “metre” was created in 17th-century Vilnius. Its author was Tito Livio Burattini (1617–1681) – an Italian physicist, mathematician, geographer, Egyptologist, architect, inventor, diplomat and finance specialist, a true Leonardo da Vinci of the North.
Burattini published a book in Vilnius in 1675 titled Misura universale. It contains the first mention of the term “metre” as a unit of length. The author suggested calling the universal unit of length the metro cattolico. This implied that is was to be used throughout all the Catholic lands.
T. L. Burattini also constructed a model of a flying apparatus, calling it the Flying Dragon. He also had an interest in astronomy and optics, established a lens-polishing workshop and created telescopes. In Warsaw, Burattini was involved in the construction or renovation of the royal Kazimierz Palace and Ujazdów residence, and installed a bridge crossing the Vistula River. In addition, Burattini devised a calculating machine, which he gifted to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Leopoldo de’Medici.
In 1665, T. L. Burattini moved to Vilnius. He was placed in charge of the Vilnius coin mint, as well as similar facilities in Brest-Litovsk, Krakow and Ujazdów. During the period of reign of the ruler of Poland and Lithuania John Casimir Vasa (1648–1668), and after the wars of the mid-17th century, Lithuania’s coin mint was reopened and operated from the territory of the ravaged Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. Copper shillings (called boratinka), along with silver and gold coins, were minted here in 1664–1666. Archaeological excavation work near this site, at the southern end of the Second Servants’ Quarters, revealed the building foundations of the Mint headed by Burattini, along with two thousand copper shillings, their blanks and cut-offs.
Monument author – sculptor Martynas Gaubas
Sponsor – Vilnius Old Town Rotary Club
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