Tuscany may be famous for its medieval and Renaissance buildings, but you can also find some later architecture as well. Montefoscoli, near Palaia, is home to the Neoclassical Temple of Minerva Medica, nestled inside a small grove of holm oaks. Few people in Italy know about this place, let alone the rest of Italy and abroad! It was commissioned around 1822 by Andrea Vaccà Berlinghieri, a successful physician at the University of Pisa. His intention was to devote a monument to his father Francesco, also a physician, and to celebrate their profession with a dedication to the goddess of medicine and wisdom, Minerva Medica.
A monumental avenue leads to the temple, which is built entirely in terracotta except for the pediment's lintel, made of white marble. The temple’s location is not random. Following in his father’s footsteps, Andrea chose the area where his father had planned, in 1808, to build a villa, though this was eventually built further south.
The temple can be visited upon reservation. Guided tours to the temple are organized on the night of the full moon by the "Ippolito Rossellini" cultural association. For information and reservations see the temple’s website.