Natural History Museum at the Accademia dei Fisiocritici in Siena
The Academy is one of the most important in Europe
The Academy of the Fisiocritici (meaning “judges of nature”), is one of the oldest scientific institutions in Italy. Founded in 1691 by Pirro Maria Gabbrielli, Professor of Theoretical Medicine and Botany at the University of Siena, has a museum of natural history, a library and a historical archive.
The Museum includes four sections: geological, zoological, anatomical and botanical, as well as original collections of measuring instruments, malformed animals, archaeological finds and curiosities such as red rain or half coconut on which Napoleon Bonaparte drank.
The geological section consists of rich collections of fossils, rocks and minerals, partly of local origin and partly from other regions or nations; Zoology exposes skeletons, finds in alcohol and embalmed animals of all continents.
In the Anatomical Section is the heritage of Paolo Mascagni, with its precious library, the first human anatomical full-size human atlas, the anatomical preparations in which Mascagni highlighted the lymphatic vessels with the technique of mercury injection, the collection “Francesco Spirito “with anatomical preparations treated with petrification process.
In the botanical section, the collection “Francesco Valenti-Serini” is a special collection of terracotta mushroom models.
The Library hosts about 36,000 books, including antique funds with valuable and rare volumes from the 16th century.
The Historical Archive maintains manuscript documents relating to the life and history of the Academy and science not only Siena.
Among the curiosities, the whale skeleton found in the inner courtyard, the famous “Terre di Siena” used in the past as natural dyes and the collection of birds, many of which are exotic, donated by Baron Bettino Ricasoli, according to the President of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Italy.