Hidden treasures

The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Padua

Unknown places & works
teatro-anatomico-padova

The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Padua

The University of Padua, founded in 1222, is one of the most important symbols of culture in Italy... There are lots of places to discover inside!

Among the most fascinating, there is undoubtedly the Anatomical Theatre, located in Palazzo del Bo.

It was the anatomist and surgeon Girolamo Fabrici d’Acquapendente who conceived it 1594. Completed in 1595, the building is the first example in the world of a permanent anatomical theatre, created for teaching anatomy through the dissection of corpses. Designed according to the stylistic canons of the Renaissance, the theatre has not been altered over time, therefore you can still admire the original sixteenth century structure!

Contrary to popular belief, the practice of dissection of corpses was not prohibited by the ecclesiastical authorities, so much so that, at the entrance of the anatomical theatre, you can still see the Latin inscription 'Hic est locus ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitam', ie 'this is the place where death delights to help the living’.

The bodies which were to be used for autopsies were delivered to the University by the judicial authorities: though not exclusively, they were often the corpses of executed people. In order for lessons to be held regularly, so-called 'stewards' who had the task of procuring the necessary corpses were appointed. Once executions started to become rare, the Anatomical Theatre ceased to operate.

You can visit the Anatomical Theatre by taking a guided tour of Palazzo del Bo, the historic home of the University of Padua, or by booking our Padua private tour with access to the Anatomical Theater!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: 'Duri i banchi!': the meaning of a famous motto in Venice

duri-i-banchi
Figures of speech

The Venetians are a people of workers, proud and deeply attached to their city, and for these reasons, they never surrender to hardship...

View

Venice: Coronavirus is not (fortunately) Venice’s new plague

peste
Historical Curiosities

As recently as a month ago the Coronavirus or COVID-19 started to affect our lives causing much disruption. It appeared precisely in ou...

View

Venice: History of the Queen of Venice Carnival: Frittella!

Frittelle_di_carnevale
Local Traditions

It is Carnival time...and what could be better than biting into a soft and tasty Venetian frittella? Frittella, ‘fritoea or fritola...

View

Venice: The legend of Melusina and the stone heart of Sotoportego dei Preti

Melusina
Mysteries & Legends

February: the feast of lovers is approaching and you are thinking of relishing magical experiences together with your better half in Ve...

View

Top posts

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

casone-millecampi-detto-casone-dei-sette-morti
Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...

View

Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

cuore-erizzo
Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...

View

Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

mappa-venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...

View

Verona: The roman walls of Verona

porta-borsari
Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...

View