The University of Pisa Museums: science and medicine

The University of Pisa, founded in 1343, has built over time an extraordinary museum heritage that in 2012 was collected within the University Museum System. Ten exhibition centers, nine in the city and one in Calci, allow visitors to admire the vast and varied historical, scientific and artistic heritage of the University of Pisa. And, at the same time, you can discover a different, hidden and more authentic Pisa.

We propose a medical-scientific itinerary of 5 museums, exhaustive of what the scholars of the prestigious University of Pisa, in some cases authentic pioneers, have represented for the development of knowledge and methods of investigation in the disciplines of modern scientific and cultural thought.

Set up in the Cittadella Galileiana, a prestigious center for the history of automatic calculation and computer science, the museum shows the evolution of calculation tools, the Pisan Electronic Calculator, the first large calculator built entirely in Italy (1961). In spring and autumn it hosts the interactive exhibition “Ludoteca Scientifica” with educational workshops.
The adjacent Museum of Physics Instruments exhibits scientific instruments dating back more than four centuries, including the inventions of the Pisan Antonio Pacinotti, such as the famous macchinetta, the first direct current dynamo-motor.

Proceeding towards Piazza dei Miracoli, the next stop are the Museum of Human Anatomy and the adjacent Museum of Pathological Anatomy. Pisa was one of the first university cities to have an Anatomical School, commissioned by Cosimo I dei Medici who built an Anatomical Theatre and entrusted it to Andrea Vesalio, considered the father of modern anatomy. Curiously, in addition to anatomical preparations and models, the museum preserves an Egyptian mummy with sarcophagus.
The Museum of Histological and Pathological Anatomy (under renovation), houses an important collection of human and animal pathological findings of great scientific value, some of which date back to the Grand Ducal era.

Let’s move to the Viale delle Piagge where we meet the Veterinary Anatomical Museum housing skeletons of livestock production, especially the horse and hear hear hear … dromedaries from the San Rossore Estate. Few people know that since 1622 the Park has hosted dromedaries at the behest of the Grand Dukes who considered the mild climate of San Rossore suitable for this animal. The experiment was successful, so much so that others were introduced from Africa to be used for agricultural work. The last specimen died in the sixties of the last century and its skeleton is currently on display at the Museum of Natural History in Calci.

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