The Temple of Minerva Medica is a historic building set in a small wood near Montefoscoli. It was built between 1821 and 1823 by Andrea Vaccà Berlinghieri, a doctor and luminary at the University of Pisa, to celebrate the memory of his father Francesco.

The dedication to Minerva Medica

Both illustrious doctors at the University of Pisa, the two Vaccàs laid the foundations of modern medicine by founding the Scuola Chirurgica Pisana. The dedication to Minerva Medica rather than to Aesculapius, the god of medicine, can be interpreted as a greater openness to the various interests of Francesco Vaccà, who was also a student of philosophy.

Masonic meeting place

The Temple is made entirely of brick, with the exception of a single architrave in white marble. It has a very curious shape, which has given rise to various interpretations, including that of being a Masonic meeting place. It is accessed by climbing a large staircase with an eight-column portico in Ionic style. The interior is characterised by a large vestibule opening onto a vast semicircular hall.


There are documents testifying that Andrea’s father, Francesco Vaccà Berlinghieri, applied Galvanism (stimulation of muscles by means of electric current) to human corpses on several occasions.

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