The Anatomical Museum, as we see it today, was set up after the transfer of the Institute of Normal Human Anatomy from the old headquarters of the Biological Institutes on Via Laterina to its present home on the ground floor of Lot I of the Polo Scientifico centre in San Miniato. This location was inaugurated in 2001 after partial renovation of the site, after preserved samples had been recovered along with educational models, anatomical tables and pieces of ancient equipment.
The Museum is named after Professor Leonetto Comparini, director of the Institute of Normal Human Anatomy from 1966 to 1997. It offers a recreated tour through a 19th-century Institute of Human Anatomy, when people practiced professions that no longer exist, such as that of the “sectioner”, an expert in the art of cutting, and that of the “preparer”, an expert in preserving organs, transforming them into educational models to meet the requests of the Anatomy professor.
The collections are displayed in 3 rooms and along a corridor.
Well worth noting in the Formalin Preservation Room are several human skeletons of various ages in an excellent state of preservation, scientific instruments from different eras (monocular microscopes in brass, photographic apparatus with bellows, slide microtomes and instruments for dissection), fetuses and organs preserved in formalin, and a sizeable collection of skeletons of normal and pathological fetuses dating back to 1881 circa. Preserved in a showcase is a recently restored papier mâché model of a human ear, originally made in 1877 by the French doctor Louis Thomas Jérome Auzoux.
In the two other rooms, the Bone Room and the Microscope Room, there is a collection of skulls from the 19th century, which is of scientific interest internationally because of the varied origins and great quantity of the specimens.
Along the corridor, exhibited in cabinets and display cases, there are dry-preserved samples of normal anatomy, a series of models in coloured wax, and an osteological collection of more than 300 skulls of fetuses and newborn infants dating back to the 19th century. A valuable resource of the museum is also to be found in the rich collection of anatomical tables dating from 1784 on.
The Museum System of the University of Siena (Sistema Museale dell’Università di Siena—SIMUS) are the tangible result of centuries of study and research carried out in and around Siena. They constitute a summa on the evolution of thought, scientific or otherwise, through collections of tools, finds, educational models, memorabilia and archival documents. Thanks to the passionate commitment of researchers and university staff, museum resources of this sort continue in the present day to provide an effective educational tool to be used in teaching and disseminating knowledge.
Reconstruction of a dissection room: on the dissection floor from the years around 1930, with a marble top equipped with a central hole for the drainage of liquids, there are the instruments used by the teacher during dissection lessons performed on cadavers.
Bone Room: the teaching collection of human bones counts as a precious resource; thanks to this collection, students from the Faculty of Medicine may enrich their studies of human anatomy.
Anatomical Museum “Leonetto Comparini” (The Museum System of the University of Siena )
Polo Scientifico di San Miniato
Via Aldo Moro, 2
Tel. 0577 234081 – 234048 – 234082 – 234078
For further information:
tel. 0577 232080
from 3rd May 2021
from Monday to Thursday, 9am to 1pm and 2.30pm to 5.30pm
Friday, 9am to 1pm
closed during the month of August
“In the fiery and concentrated beauty of Siena there is an artificial note that recalls a city perched atop a hill in an old painting. From the fortifications one views the entire city, the white and brown houses, with brown-hued roofs and smooth façades pierced by multiple windows. […] All around reigns the peace of a green world, now sloping down into valleys strewn with red earth and veiled by the gray mist of the olive trees, with cypresses reaching darkly into the sky, now rising into hills”. (A. Symons, 1907)
In Siena, the flavor, the taste, the view of the city are still the same as those evoked by the words of the English poet who visited and certainly fell in love with the place more than a century ago. Siena sits composedly, perched on its hills. Move away just a little, and you can take it in all at once, the unmistakable skyline of its elongated silhouette, its walls, the Torre del Mangia and the dome of the Cathedral. And it is not even so different, in certain glimpses, from the way its most beloved painters depicted it in the 1300s and 1400s, from Lorenzetti to Simone Martini, from Sano di Pietro to Vecchietta.
The city’s sensual and harmonious relationship with the landscape that surrounds and protects it is also fundamentally unchanged. The hills, cypresses, red earth and olive trees can be reached on foot by walking out through the ancient gates, or else still inside the city, in the protected and precious green valleys that have remained within the walls.
With its slow, almost dreamlike way of life, Siena should be visited calmly, for it needs to be savoured unhurriedly. Stroll through Siena and let yourself be guided by curiosity. Slip into the alleys, look for quiet hidden places, explore a museum, a church or a beautiful palazzo.