Telesio was hailed by Francis Bacon, the English “father of empiricism,” as “the first of the moderns” among philosophers for his development of scientific method based on observation.
His works questioning medieval obscurantism and Aristotelean philosophy led the Roman Catholic Church to place them on the Index of banned books soon after his death in 1588 though he escaped persecution during his lifetime due to good relations with a number of clerics.
In addition to his standing with Bacon, Telesio was an important influence on Giordano Bruno, Thomas Hobbes and René Descartes.
Among other works lost in the fire was handwritten correspondence between Paolo Bombini, a priest, and Galileo Galilei, and original parchment manuscripts by the 16th century writers Sertorio Quattromani and Aulo Giano Parassio, also both from Cosenza, which was a thriving cultural centre during the late Renaissance.
The mayor of Cosenza, Mario Ochiutto, declared a day of mourning in the city Monday following the tragedy.