Aula Scarpa

The "Aula Scarpa" is the old anatomical theatre of the University of Pavia. It is named after Antonio Scarpa who became professor of anatomy in the local school of Medicine in 1783 and immediately promoted the building of this anathomical theatre. The "Aula Scarpa" was designed in 1785 by Giuseppe Piermarini and concluded the following year by Leopoldo Pollack1.


Its semicircular layout is modeled on ancient theatres and the Palladian Olympic Theatre of Vicenza. The horseshoe shaped auditorium is made entirely of wood. The benches for the audience and the teacher’s area are separated, according to the requirements for instruction in Anatomy of the time.


Grotesque candelabra are painted on the gores of the umbrella ceiling designed by architect Giuseppe Marchesi (the original ceiling by Pollack was a lacunar one), alternating with winged figures holding some of the most important surgical instruments.


On the curved side of the theatre, there is a series of niches with marble busts of illustrious anatomists of Pavia such as Scarpa, Panizza, Zoia and Sala.


The Aula Scarpa was restored in 1999.

  • Photos by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (March 2013), courtesy of Prof. Paolo Mazzarello, Director of the Museum for the History of the University of Pavia

Related items:


- P.Mazzarello e L.Fregonese (a cura di), Pavia e le svolte della scienza, Libreria CLU, Pavia 2011, p. 58…

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