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 Your Own Padova, a fascinating private tour of Padua!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: The relief of the man with the pipe at Palazzo Loredan on the Grand Canal

palazzo-loredan
Mysteries & Legends

One of the oldest buildings on the banks of the Grand Canal is Palazzo Loredan, built in the 13th century and currently seat of the Tow...

View

Verona: The equestrian monument at Cangrande della Scala in Verona

cangrande
Big Names

One of the most famous people in the history of Verona is surely Cangrande della Scala, Lord of Verona from 1308 to 1329, the year of h...

View

Verona: Venetian walls in Peschiera del Garda

peschiera-del-garda
Historical Curiosities

Today Venice is ‘merely’ the capital of a region in Italy, but once it was the capital of an Empire that extended to the Eastern Me...

View

Venice: The Crypt of St. Mark's Basilica

san-marco-cripta
Unknown places & works

St. Mark's Basilica in Venice is probably one of the most famous and visited churches in the Western world. Every day, thousands of tou...

View

Top posts

Verona: The jousts in the Verona Arena

arena-di-verona
Historical Curiosities

The Verona Arena is undoubtedly the symbol of the city in the Veneto region, and one of the most famous Roman monuments of Italy. All t...

View

Padua: The Museum of the History of Medicine in Padua

Museo-di-storia-della-Medicina
Unknown places & works

If you are tired of the usual museums filled with paintings and sculptures, you might find the Museum of the History of Medicine in Pad...

View

Treviso: The 'Barco' of Caterina Corner, Queen of Cyprus, in Altivole

barco-altivole
Big Names

One of the most charming figures of the history of Venice is certainly Catherine Corner, queen of Cyprus (1454-1510). At the age of 18,...

View

Venice: The Sirens and the lace from Burano in the Venice lagoon

merlettaie
Mysteries & Legends

The island of Burano island in the Venice lagoon is definitely a magical place: filled with small colourful houses, delicious cookies, ...

View