La Specola Anatomical Collection is on my list of top destinations if I ever make it to Europe.
La Specola is part of the Museum of Natural History in Florence and contains perhaps the largest (and best known) collection of antique anatomical models. It began as the personal collection of the Medici family, and opened in 1775 to the public.
According to Atlas Obscura the museum “also houses some wonderful taxidermy, including now extinct specimens and a very questionable-looking hippopotamus.”
I obviously can’t hear the term “questionable-looking hippopotamus” without being deeply intrigued.
Of particular note is the presence of anatomical Venuses…idealized female forms with their insides exposed. These medical models were a valued educational tool, but evoke all kinds of emotion with their brilliant, uncanny craftsmanship. Some look dead, some look as if they’ve been skinned alive. Others are semi-erotic.
Have any of you visited La Specola?