The anatomical theatre in Venice in St Giacomo dell'Orio SquareUnknown places & works
The anatomical theatre in Venice in St Giacomo dell'Orio Square
In the district of Santa Croce in Venice, in the quiet St Giacomo dell'Orio Square, there are traces of an ancient anatomical theatre.
The original building was destroyed by a fire in 1800, but the two seventeenth century doors remain and, over the central door, the inscription DOM MEDICORUM PHYSICORUM COLLEGIUM (college of medical physicists).
Today the building contains private apartments, but the building once contained a large room with three rows of elliptical steps to watch the dissections of corpses, while upstairs there was a rich library, an archive and a room for doctors meetings.
Since 1368 Venice has made laws for the study of corpses, but it was always done in the vicinity of the holy places, to confirm that the doctor always needed God's help if they had to operate.
This anatomical theatre was inaugurated in 1671, thanks to the legacy of the patrician Lorenzo Loredan; and since 1760 it also housed the School of Obstetrics. This was very important because to be a midwife in Venice one had to be able to read, attend the demonstrations in the anatomy theatre for two years, practice with an older midwife and pass a sort of final exam.
If you want to know Venice from a new perspective, Francesca, a licensed tour guide and editor of this fascinating section, will be happy to accompany you to discover the lesser known places, often the protagonists of legends and dark mysteries. Ask for her availability and you can organize your personalized tour itinerary in Venice with her!
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