Events in Tuscany: detail
From September 28 2011 to September 29 2013
Hotel Villa Cappugi - Pistoia Underground Museum
Among the corridors of the Hospital of Pistoia Old peeps a gray door, hidden, there are many people who pass the next day but, perhaps, only a few of them know which lead extraordinary place. Just give her a turn of the key, and Pistoia reveals his innermost secrets, its most mysterious and fascinating. A descent into the depths of the past, long forgotten in a basement but still able to move with its load of unexpected archaeological and historical memories.
This is what the new museum offers Pistoia Underground, opened in May 2010 through the efforts of the architect Gianluca Iori and Historical Research and Archaeological Institute of Pistoia (IRSA also operates the Museum and the Museum of Orvieto Cliff Ferrucciano Gavinana; short will also open the Museum of SMI Shelters in Campotizzoro). The project saw the collaboration of important local: among them, Publiacqua Spa, Local Health 3, the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Pistoia and Pescia, the City and the Province of Pistoia.
The museum, sponsored by VIBanca (Cooperative Credit Bank of St. Peter Vinci), has also received significant support from the Cesvot (Voluntary Services Centre Tuscany), which helped to ensure that the path, equipped with walkways and panels in Braille, proves fully accessible to disabled and blind.
Let us take the hand of Francesca Giunti (head of the museum) and Michela Tucci (IRSA collaborator), and with a little caliamoci 'heartbeat of the basements of the strain.
We are now in the middle of the walkway, in a large and surmounted by large brick vaults; hear a slight gurgle of running water, low lights accentuate the sense of the place of mystery that surrounds us.
The path winds its way underground for 650 meters along the ancient course of the stream songs that, after a detour fourteenth century, gave way to an artificial channel (the gora Scorno). Here, at the end of the thirteenth century, arose the first unit of the Hospital of the strain. A legend tells that in 1277 two nice elderly couple Pistoia dreamed that a heavenly voice inviting them to build a "friendly" to the place where they found a strain of flowers, and more in the middle of winter. The old couple were not discouraged and, after some research, discovered the strain on the left bank of the miraculous Brana, proceeding so the foundation of the new reality of care.
Over the years the hospital was expanded to the point of becoming a true "city within a city." The structure would have remained independent until 1501, when the Medici family decided to put the strain under the control of the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. The arrival of the new administrator of Florence, the "Spedalingo" Leonardo Buonafede, allowed not only a complete reorganization of the hospital, but also the realization of the splendid frieze of the portico is a jewel of Renaissance art.
These are just some of the interesting historical information that guides the museum and give us accompany us along the underground walkway.
At first lead us to the west, in Via delle Pappe, where we can see the reconstruction of a mill of the twelfth century, we move back and forth under the buildings of the Yule Street, where we admire the arch of an ancient Roman Bridge. We go straight in Piazza S. Lorenzo, where we can touch a wash and a medieval mill Battiferro. The path stops hypogeous in S. Mark, where an impressive network of vaults above the remains of the bridge that linked the complex of S. Lunardo the northeast tower of the second walls of the city.
Once out of the dungeon, we began the tour of the museum areas of the hospital, no less important for historical and documentary.
And here is the flagship of the entire tour: the anatomical amphitheater Hospital, considered the world's smallest. From the outside, the theater looks like a bare shack and no appeal; inside, however, lies a treasure trove of art eighteenth century, so elegant as to be mistaken for an elegant aristocratic living.
Beautifully painted in neoclassical style, this room was used to lecture on anatomy to students of the School of Medicine and Surgery of the strain. Well yes, in the midst of these delicate pastel grotesque corpses are dissected. But do not turn up their noses, or rather, let us take the admiration and gratitude: it is in places like this that medicine, more refined with practice, could finally answer the main questions about the functioning of our body, finding cures for diseases to shortly before incurable.
The tour ends in the great hall of Medicine "Filippo Pacini", where he shows himself a rich display of surgical instruments (some of which date back to the seventeenth century): a precious not only for lovers of history of medicine, but also for anyone seeking to understand the difficult everyday life of those who have gone before us.
In the hall of the Academy you can admire, among other things, a very rare item of equipment at the end of the eighteenth century midwifery: the device, used for practice of students, fully represents the high level reached in those years by the School of Medicine and Surgery Hospital of Pistoia, a true center of excellence known throughout Europe.
Believe us, it will take some 'before they fade from the experience of the emotion Pistoia Underground: not the usual museum, but a real blast from the past to discover the many testimonies of lives that have been silent for centuries beneath our feet, a rendezvous with the science and art treasures housed in the heart of the Hospital of the strain. A pleasant surprise for the visitor passing through, both for Pistoia eager to learn more about their city.
Ready for the next down?
The museum is open daily. The visits, always guided and last about an hour, is held at 10.30, 11.30, 12.30, 14.00, 15.00, 16.00 and 17.00 (from 01/04 to 30/09 there will be a visit to 18.00). On weekends, booking is recommended. Ticket office in Piazza Giovanni XXIII (accessed from the front door to the left of the porch).
Pistoia Underground Museum
Piazza Giovanni XXIII, 13
Phone 0573 / 368 023