Museo di Anatomia Patologica (Museum of Pathological Anatomy)


The Museum boasts a series of historical collections, some of which date back to the Grand Ducal period. An example is the collection of bladder stones, including about 50 bizarre pieces in shape and size, smooth or moriform, with diameters ranging from one centimeter to about nine centimeters. Another example is the collection of malformed infants (the so-called “Monsters”); they include 25 well preserved pieces showing several congenital malformations: from bicephaly to hydrocephaly, from cyclopia to anencephaly and iniencephaly. Particularly interesting is a bicorporeal and thoracopagus fetal skeleton in which it is possible to observe the perfect fusion of the two chests to form a single cavity.

Both collections date back to the 19th century. To this century also belongs animal teratological collection which includes, among the most particular cases, a six-legged polyarthritic dog, a two-headed cat and a two-headed and four-legged polyarthritic chick. We should also mention the parasitological collection of helminths and a small arachnological collection of poisonous spiders.

The larger collection of the museum is that of the human pathological organs which were taken during autopsies carried out mainly in the 1960s and now preserved in alcohol. The increase in occupational diseases and their social interest has led, in more recent times, to the identification of specimens of high interest for our territory, such as the collection of autopsy lungs, coming from workers in marble quarries, metallurgical sectors and glassworks, affected by silicosis, anthracosis or asbestosis. The collection includes also pathological specimens of the cardio-vascular, renal, nervous, gastroenteric, and lymphatic systems.

More recently, the museum has been enriched by a collection of forensic specimens (the result of a donation made by the Legal Medicine section of the University of Pisa) and a rich collection of paleopathological findings illustrating bone pathologies in ancient human skeletal remains, from the Etruscan times to the Middle Ages (the result of the research activity of the Division of Paleopathology). A pre-Columbian mummy is part of this section, which is a find of great interest and attraction for the public.

The iconographic collection, composed of slides from autopsy and operator pieces, was born about 40 years ago. Currently it has at least 3,000 colour slides in duplicate, ordered in series by injury, type of pathology or clinical case. This material is available for consultation.

Other material assigned to the Museum, for conservation and consultation on request, is the collection of autopsy reports complete with the respective anatomo-pathological diagnosis. There are about 30,000 anatomical-clinical cases collected from 1884 to the present day.