Giovenale Polidori

This page lists items in the database related to Italian physician and surgeon Giovenale Polidori (b. Castro dei Volsci, Italy, 4 August 1872; d. Beira, Mozambico, 19 October 1924):



Giovenale Polidori, son of Giuseppe and Anna Maria Rinna1 , was born in Castro dei Volsci on 4th August 1872.
He moved to Belgian Congo where he practiced medicine and he especially focused on tropical diseases. He died on 19th October 1924 in Beria.


Giovenale brilliantly graduated in Medicine and Surgery at University of Rome2 .

After moving to Belgian Congo, he founded “health centers” in order to prevent infectious diseases. Leopold II of Belgium appreciated Giovenale’s work and he decided to hire him as his personal doctor in Congo. Dr. Polidori also wrote a letter to the king to convince him to build an hospital in Katanga. The king liked Giovenale’s ideals and accepted his request, so works begun on 4th April 1912 and they finished on 26th October 1917 . Giovenale became the director of this hospital, where he practiced surgery and thanks to his ability he was called “the Great Doctor”3 .

Giovenale collaborated with his cousin Dr. Pietro Polidori (29th February 1868,Castro dei Volsci- 20th November 1931,Castro dei Volsci) who received several commendations.
Giovenale tried to defeat “sleeping sickness” in Congo with all his strength, but he didn't reach his purpose because of his blindness. After becoming general Director of Sanitary Service of Katanga he financed the building of a big hospital in Elisabethville that took his name.4. Finally Giovenale received a Service star, a Distinguished Service Medal and he was appointed Knight of the Order of the Crown and Officer of the National Order of the Lion5.


  • Filippo Palatta, Uomini illustri di Castro dei Volsci,Edizioni Bianchini,Frosinone,1997, pp. 87-91.
  • Biographie Coloniale Belge, T. III, 1952, p.709.
  • Francesco Ambrosi, Castro dei Volsci, storia e storie,Edizioni Bianchini,Frosinone,1997, p. 60.

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