Discover the Enchantment of the Picciola Pharmacy Museum in Vercelli

A Journey Through Time in the History of Medicine and Pharmacy

The Picciola Pharmacy Museum in Vercelli is a place where time seems to stand still, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a past filled with mystery and charm. Upon entering, one is greeted by an atmosphere thick with ancient remedies and alchemical secrets, where modern science finds its roots.

Visitors’ eyes are immediately drawn to the wooden boxes lined up on the shelves, with faded labels bearing evocative names like “Bicarbonate of Soda,” “Boric Acid,” and “Paraffin.” These containers, silent witnesses of a bygone era, hold stories of preparations and cures, of illnesses and recoveries. Each box is a window into a world where pharmacy was a meticulous and respected art.

On the walls, framed in gold, an old medical certificate dated 1830 stands out, written in elegant Latin that speaks of a time when qualifications and skills were earned with sacrifice and dedication. This document, with its elaborate calligraphy, symbolizes the seriousness and commitment of the pharmacists of the time, true pioneers of medicine.

Among the displays, a time-yellowed book, “The Dioscorides” by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, catches the eye. Published in 1552, this treatise on botany and medicine meticulously describes the healing properties of plants, reflecting the importance of botanical knowledge in the pharmaceutical practice of the past. Next to it, another ancient volume, the “Medical-Surgical Discourse” by Andrea Pasta, explores complications during childbirth and other medical topics, testifying to the depth and variety of medical studies of the time.

A step further, an old desk adorned with candlesticks and a quill pen reveals itself. Here, among books and documents, one can imagine a 19th-century pharmacist drafting prescriptions and preparing remedies. The study’s atmosphere, with its antique clock and portraits on the walls, evokes an era where science and magic intertwined, and each formula was a spell against illness.

One of the museum’s most fascinating pieces is a brass distiller, an ingenious device used for extracting and purifying medicinal substances. With its elegant lines and complex design, this instrument represents the ingenuity and craftsmanship of ancient pharmacists, always seeking new solutions to alleviate human suffering.

The museum’s shelves are filled with blown glass jars and bottles, labeled with Latin names that recall a time when each substance had a precise and indispensable role. “Aqua Valerian,” “Aqua Carvi,” “Aqua Melissae” are just a few of the carefully preserved solutions, each with its own story to tell.

In a corner, a black-and-white photograph depicts a group of surgeons and assistants at work, capturing the essence of the collaboration and dedication required to manage an operating room. This historical snapshot is a precious visual testimony of the daily life and commitment of past professionals.

The museum’s displays overflow with ancient objects and documents, including vials, pillboxes, labels, and tools for preparing medicines. Each piece is a fragment of history, a piece of the puzzle that makes up the evolution of pharmacy. Every label, every vial, carries with it a tale of hope and healing, of attempts and discoveries.

The Picciola Pharmacy Museum is not just an exhibition space but a journey through time, a dive into the history of medicine and pharmacy. It is a tribute to the pioneers who, with curiosity and determination, laid the foundations of modern science. Visiting this museum means reflecting on the fragile line between science and magic, appreciating the dedication and ingenuity of past pharmacists, and understanding how much medicine has evolved over the centuries. It is an experience that leaves an indelible mark on the memory, fostering respect and admiration for those who, with their knowledge and tools, fought to improve the human condition.

Marco Mattiuzzi

By Marco Mattiuzzi

A multifaceted artist, former teacher and communicator, he has dedicated years to art and communication. He taught classical guitar, exhibited photos and wrote in magazines. In the book sector, he promoted photography and art through HF Distribuzione, a company specialized in mail-order sales. He currently owns CYBERSPAZIO WEB & STREAMING HOSTING. In 2018, he created the Facebook group "Art Pills" with over 65,000 members and manages CYBERSPAZIO WEB RADIO dedicated to classical music. He collaborates with several cultural organizations in Vercelli, including Amici dei Musei and Artes Liberales.
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