Istituto Maragliano


The Maragliano Institute was founded by Edoardo Maragliano in 1900 in Piazza del Popolo, Genoa. That building is no more extant.1 Now the Institute is located in Via Padre Semeria, Genoa.
Edoardo Maragliano (1849-1940) graduated in Medicine from the University of Genoa in 1870. When he was 32 he became an Internal Medicine professor in the same university.2 In 1889 he created the first Italian centre specialized on tubercolosis studies after his younger brother Dario’s death caused by pulmonary tubercolosis.3

The building today




The Maragliano Institute was originally located in a big building that was sorrounded by large squares and streets. It faced Piazza del Popolo in the Foce neighbourhood, in Genoa. In the building there were two indipendent entries. On the ground floor there were stables which hosted big animals (horses, donkeys) in separate areas. The rest of the ground floor was occupied by the administration office, storehouses, a barn and a large room. On the first floor there was a wide corridor that made possible the access to the laboratories.4

From the central corridor, on the left there were:

  • The laboratory for tuberculosis and anti-tubercular serum
  • The laboratory for sterilizations
  • The room for the packaging and shipping of the institute's products
  • The management office
  • The laboratory for the preparation of tuberculous Emoantitoxin

On the right there were:

  • The laboratory for animal experiments
  • The general laboratory

All the laboratories were under the direction of professor Maragliano.5

On the left scientists were testing their products on animals. On the right a laboratory where a scientist was working.6


The Institute always distinguished itself for its pleasant work environment, which guaranteed incredible success in both scientific and humanitarian fields. One of its main projects was to promote the creation of the dispensary of tubercolosis7 and it had always contributed to the public health services. For example when the terrible cholera outbreak took place in 1884, the Clinic and all of its workers promoted assistance and therapy to the population.8. From the beginning of the 1900 free diagnostic tests were distributed to the poor people coming from every Italian region.9

Edoardo Maragliano left the chair of Internal Medicine after 43 years of teaching, saying:

“Così facendo intendo di assolvere il dovere che tutti abbiamo, finchè lo possiamo, di mettere in comune per il bene di tutti ciò che abbiamo potuto imparare col concorso di tutti. Non comprendo, non ho mai compreso l’ozio, finchè Dio ci mantiene le forze e ci concede la gioia del lavoro: questa gioia suprema dell’uomo civilizzato e cosciente della sua missione sopra la terra"10 (From "Lezione di Commiato", 28 June 1924)

“Doing so I wish to fulfill the duty we all have, until we can, to share for common good what we have had the opportunity to learn with everybody’s contribution. I don’t understand, I’ve never understood laziness, until God keeps us strong and gives us the joy of our work: this supreme joy belonging to the civilised man and at the same time aware of his mission on earth.”

Annals were published to share the work done in the Institute.11



As years were passing by, the scientific activity of Edoardo Maragliano needed a bigger and more appropriate place to be carried out. For this reason in 1921 the Institute was transferred to a new location and tightly connected to the institute of medical clinic’s activity. In the new building there were large instruments dedicated to observation, including stables for big animals that made experimental research about pathology and therapy possible.12

An old photo of the second building in 192113


The building today


This institute wasn’t rich and it had never received financial help by the government. It survived only thanks to the proceeds of its own production of healing serum, vaccines and organic therapeutic aids.14

Fridges used to preserve pharmaceutical products



In order to transfer Maragliano Institute's discoveries into commercial licences, an association was created that not only could finance such a development, but that was able to make its own products. Maragliano received financial help from the institute’s associate Ivo Vecchi. This is why the new Company had two social purposes:

  • Vecchi & C. PIAM (Prodotti Igienici Alimentari Medicinali);
  • Maragliano Institute with the purpose of studying tubercolosis and other diseases.15

In the same year PIAM’s (Prodotti Igienici Alimentari Medicinali) offices were located in San Martino’s area in Via Montallegro which nowadays has partially been replaced by Via Padre Semeria.16 The Institute soon gained a relevant reputation in Italy and abroad thanks to its researches in the experimental and clinical field. During those years the Institute successfully developed a series of therapeutic products such as serum and vaccines.17

Institute's products18


Since its foundation, the PIAM Farmaceutici has always been loyal to its first principles. It developed its researches continuously adapting and updating the production to the progress that was achieved in the studies of tubercolosis.19

  • Photos and main text by Anna Martinoia @ and Silvia Pastore @ (January 2018), courtesy of Edoardo Maragliano, nephew of the founder.

Archival sources

  • Archivio Storico della PIAM Farmaceutici, Via Fieschi, 8/7 - Genova


  • AA.VV., La clinica del Prof. Maragliano dal suo inizio ad oggi, 17 Novembre 1881- 28 Giugno 1924, Stab.Grafico Cogni & Coscia, Genova 1924, pp. 19-29
  • Istituto Maragliano Vecchi & Co. "PIAM" (catalogo), Unione Artistica Industrie Grafiche di Pietro Vera, Milano 1949
  • Edoardo Maragliano, Cenni sull'istituto per le malattie infettive, estratto da "Annali dell'istituto Maragliano per lo studio e la cura della tubercolosi e di altre malattie infettive", Volume 1, Genova 1931, pp. 6-8
  • Boris H. Vassileff, Cinque camici bianchi, la famiglia genovese Maragliano, Edizione "La voce di Genova", Genova 1967, pp. 15-24


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