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Padua: The Renaissance of Human Anatomy and Medicine

Andrioli, Giancarlo M.D.; Trincia, Giuseppe M.D.

doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000139488.53440.73

THE CITY AND University of Padua have a long tradition and a great reputation in anatomic studies, dating from the founding of the university in the year 1222. We present a historical review of the study of human anatomy, for which Padua was a most important center. The background for the development of this culture was represented by the scientific freedom and political wisdom of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, a liberal and tolerant state in the midst of a feudal, imperial, and pontifical Europe. During the second half of the 15th century, the flourishing trade and cultural, social, and political life of Venice attracted a great number of scientists and students from all over Europe who contributed to the establishment of Padua as an international center for culture and the sciences. Vesalio, Fabrizio d’Acquapendente, and Giovanni Battista Morgagni represent milestones in the history of anatomy as well as in medicine and surgery. History shows that anatomy and surgery evolved together, just as anatomy of the nervous system and neurosurgery developed in tandem. The tradition of neurosurgery in Padua is considered one the most important schools in Italy.

Divisione Neurochirurgica, Ospedali Galliera, Genova, Italy (Andrioli)

Divisione Neurochirurgica, Ospedale Civile, Mestre-Venezia, Italy (Trincia)

Reprint requests: Giancarlo Andrioli, M.D.,Department of Neurosurgery, Galliera Hospital, Via Volta, 8, 16128 Genova, Italy. Email:

Received, February 5, 2004.

Accepted, June 1, 2004.

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons