THE `TEATRO ANATOMICO' (The Anatomy Theatre)Previous

The Anatomy Theatre of the University of Padua is certainly one of the oldest, most important and best-known historical `medical' buildings. It is a symbol of the 16th century, the century which, thanks to anatomy, saw medicine break off from the thousand-year-old Galenic conception of healing and enter the modern era of medical care. The Anatomy Theatre was built in 1594, almost one hundred years after Alessandro Benedetti ( c. 1455 - 1525) published his work De Anatomia in which, for the first time, he described a theatre that could be dismantled to be used for autopsies and almost 50 years after Andrea Vesalio (1514 - 1564) published De humani corporis fabrica. The construction occupies the two upper floors on the north west side of the University building, the Palazzo Bo. It is shaped like an elliptical, upside-down cone with six concentric tiers with carved, walnut wood balustrades. Scholars of the calibre of William Harvey (1578 - 1657), Giovan Battista Morgagni (1682 - 1771) and Antonio Scarpa (1747 - 1832) have stood around this dissecting table. Of all the students who, returning to their own countries spread the knowledge of the new methods of dissection, two also set up anatomy theatres based directly on the Paduan model, Peter Paaw (1564 - 1617) in Leiden, Holland, in 1597, and Thomas Bartholin (1616 - 1680) in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1643. Other centres of study and research set up all over Europe which emulated the Paduan method have served only to enhance the historical and scientific importance of the Paduan Anatomy Theatre. Although the Theatre was in use for almost three centuries it is still well preserved and, apart from a few 18th century modifications, in its original state. Some traditions concerning the Old Padua University Anatomy Theatre

Some traditions concerning the Old Padua University Anatomy Theatre