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ITINERARI STORICI | PIEMONTE DIPARTIMENTO ANATOMIA TORINO © ALESSIO GUARINO cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper cdn_helper


The Museum originated in 1739 with the establishment, by anatomy professor Giovanni Battista Bianchi, of an “Academic Museum” of sciences located in the University building on Via Po (Di Macco, 2003). The inventory of this initial museum, which, in addition to anatomy, included rooms for physics, mathematics, botany, and a “chamber of curiosity or common gallery,” allows us to identify at least one object that is still preserved today.

In the early decades of the nineteenth century, the anatomical collections became more substantial, and Turin’s anatomy gained international renown. With the Restoration, the teaching of anatomy in the Faculty of Medicine was entrusted to Luigi Rolando, leading to a new increase in collections. By 1830, Rolando secured a new exhibition hall in the Palace of the Royal Museums (former College of the Nobles). Many objects from those collections, including a rich series of wax models, are still preserved in the current museum. In 1837, the Anatomical Museum was transferred to the Maggiore Hospital of San Giovanni Battista, where the collections continued to grow. In the late nineteenth century, under the direction of Carlo Giacomini, particular emphasis was given to the preparation of dry and alcohol-preserved specimens.

In 1898, with the construction of the new Palace of Anatomical Institutes as part of the “City of Science” at Valentino (Avataneo & Montaldo, 2003), the museum was relocated to specially constructed premises, where it is still exhibited today (Giacobini, 1993, 1997a; Giacobini et al., 2003). The monumental architecture of these spaces underscores the importance of the discipline and the prestige of Turin’s anatomical school at the end of the nineteenth century.

After its move to the current location, the museum underwent no significant interventions. This fact guided a choice of interventions aimed at restoring the original situation and recovering a cultural asset represented by a practically intact nineteenth-century scientific museum (Giacobini, 2003). The Museum of Human Anatomy represents the founding nucleus of the Museum of Man in Turin (Giacobini et al., 2008), whose project is in development thanks to an agreement between the University of Turin and the Piedmont Region.