Born in Candeglia di Pistoia, the Scolopian father Giovanni Antonelli headed the Osservatorio Ximeniano in Florence between 1848 and 1872. He specialized in astronomy, physics, and engineering. He achieved excellent results in the planning of rail lines. His writings include works on mathematics and hydraulics and a commentary on the astronomical references in Dante's Divine Comedy. He collaborated with Filippo Cecchi (1822-1887), who succeeded him as director of the Osservatorio Ximeniano.