Museum of the Sanitary Arts in Rome


Let’s just say you’re feeling a little unclean after a trip through the gory Crime Museum in Rome – how about you wash your spirit with a visit to the Museum of the Sanitary Arts?

The Museum of the Sanitary Arts, founded in 1741, is housed inside the Santo Spirito Hospital, and is dedicated to the healing arts. The hospital itself was once a church, and dates back to the early 8th century. The museum itself is small, but boasts a big collection of anatomical wax models which were used at one time for teaching students in the arts of sanitation and healing. There are also some health-related oddities, such as a cannonball-sized liver stone that came from a camel and a 19th century skeleton with its nervous system mummified and intact. Lining the walls of the museum are some 17th century pharmaceutical vases in beautifully-painted majolica.

Distinctly less beautiful, however, are the things floating in bottles around the room. You may wonder if you’re no longer in the Museum of the Sanitary Arts or whether you wandered accidentally into some mad scientist’s lab. Among the preserved specimens, you’ll find a set of Siamese twins.

Okay, so maybe this wasn’t the cleansing experience you thought it would be. Still, it’s definitely one for the list of odd sights in Rome.

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Location: Ospedale di Santo Spirito, 3 Lungotevere Sassia
Upon entering the hospital, ask a clerk at the main entrance to see the museum.

Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 09:00-12:00

Admission: Free

Check out my recommendations for more weird things in Rome you can visit!

Photo by: anspics