Vol. 115 No. 3 (2010)
Original Article

Anatomy and anatomists in Tuscany in the 17th century

Published 2010-12-10


  • History of anatomy,
  • history of medicine,
  • 17th century,
  • wax modelling

How to Cite

Orlandini, G. E., & Paternostro, F. (2010). Anatomy and anatomists in Tuscany in the 17th century. Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, 115(3), 167–174. Retrieved from https://oajournals.fupress.net/index.php/ijae/article/view/1076


The 17th century was characterized by a real revolution in the field of scientific research due to the introduction of the experimental method, promoted by Galileo Galilei who was the most representative scientist of this period. Therefore, medical disciplines, particularly Anatomy, underwent innovative and deep changes shattering traditional culture and representing the background for the modern science. In this fermenting period, Tuscany played a significant role since numerous distinguished scientists were gathered by Medici Grand Dukes (especially Ferdinando the 2nd and Cosimo the 3rd) at Pisa University and at their court in Florence. Among them, it must be mentioned Giovanni Alfonso Borelli, creator of iathromechanics, Marcello Malpighi, founder of microscopic Anatomy, Francesco Redi, who denied the insect spontaneous generation, Nils Steensen who continued in Florence his anatomical studies on lymph nodes and salivary glands while setting also the bases of modern geology. Moreover, at the end of the 17th century, the anatomical wax modelling techniques arose and developed in Florence thanks to the work of Gaetano Zumbo (or Zummo), capable of creating some real masterpieces, still very well preserved and collected in the Museum of Natural Sciences “La Specola”.