Museum of Natural History Academy of Physiocratics onlus

An illustrious study of the history of Siennese science

Primary objective of the Academy was the study of the origin of natural phenomena through an experimental check. Transferred in 1694 to a room of the Sapienza, seat of the University, after the disastrous earthquake of 1798 it found a new location in the ex-monastery of the Camaldolites. Considered one of the most famous cultural societies of Europe, the Academy has had among its illustrious partners scientists such as Carlo Linneo, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, Alessandro Volta, Louis Pasteur and many others. The original nucleus of natural collections, today conserved in the Museum, dates back to halfway through the XVIII century: particularly significant are: the “Paolo Mascagni” collection, belonging to the well-known scholar who from 1789 to 1815 presided the Academy giving it a more scientific impulse, with the anatomical preparations realised with the technique of injecting metallic mercury in the lymph vessels; the “Francesco Valenti-Serini” collection, a vast collection of terracotta mushroom models; the “Francesco Spirito” collection, with anatomical preparations treated with a process of petrifaction. The zoological collection is noteworthy, with its marine mammals gathered from 1970 to today along the regions’ coasts, as is the geological one, consisting mainly in samples of the territory of southern Tuscany, the result of past donations. In the Historical Archive are handwritten documents about the life and the history of the Academy and, more generally, the history of Siennese science.

Article edited by the Province of Siena