The Anatomical School of Padua



The University of Padua is one of the most ancient in the world, being founded in 1222, and the most important anatomists of the XVI, XVII, and XVIII centuries studied and taught here. Probably, the first professor of anatomy and surgery was Bruno da Longobucco (c. 1200–c. 1286), who had previously studied at the Salerno School of Medicine. While professor in Padua, Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564) published De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543), which is considered as the birth of the modern anatomy. Following professors were Realdo Colombo (c. 1516–1559), Gabriel Fallopius (1523–1562), Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente (1533–1619), Iulius Casserius (1552–1616), Johann Wesling (1598–1649), and Johann Georg Wirsung (1589–1643). Many other foreign scholars studied in the University of Padua, such as Thomas Linacre (c. 1460–1524), the founder of the Royal College of Physicians, Werner Rolfinck (1599–1673), and Olof Rudbeck (1630–1702), who created anatomical theatres in Germany and Sweden, respectively, on the basis of the Paduan model. The anatomy of the XVII century characteristically widened the scope of its enquiry to function, as in the Exercitatio Anatomica De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus (1628) by William Harvey (1578–1657). Further evolution was then given by the anatomy in the XVIII century, which tried to correlate alterations of structure with clinical symptoms. The most important anatomist of this century is Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682–1771), whose masterpiece De Sedibus et Causis Morborum per Anatomen Indagatis (1761) is a landmark contribution that is viewed as the beginning of modern pathologic anatomy. This year falls the 300th anniversary of Morgagni's inaugural lecture on medical education, Nova Institutionum Medicarum Idea (1712), which is still relevant in its effort to stress the importance of a deep knowledge of all the preclinical and clinical aspects of medical science.