The Collezione Anatomica Paolo Gorini is located inside the Ospedale Vecchio in Lodi, enjoying the suggestive atmosphere of the fifteenth-century Chiostro della Farmacia. Like for some ancient paintings, where the frame equals or surpasses the value of the painting, the location that houses the collection represents an unquestionable and clear added value.
LThe history of the Ospedale Vecchio has roots that go as far as the 15th century. On January 6th 1459 (after executing the decrees of the bishop of Lodi, the marquis Carlo Pallavicino) was set the foundation stone of the institution that later would absorb most hospitals, healthcare facilities and hospices of Lodi from the 12th till the 15th century.
Like Agnelli remembered,
the bishop, after getting the appropriate information and discussing the matter with the Capitolo of the cathedral, decided to go along with the wishes of the decurions and on November 21st 1457 published the letter of aggregation of all the hospital of Lodi under the one of Spirito Santo; letter in which was also determined that the administration and government of the hospital was up to the City, and that however the election of the administrators had to be confirmed by the bishop. The suppression of the many hospitals of Lodi and their union with that of Santo Spirito was declared, and the administrators had the license to nominate the chaplain.
(G. Agnelli, Ospedale di Lodi. Monografia storica, Pierre, 1950, p. 30)
The hospitals of the city and the surrounding area were actually a lot. Their number was just under twenty, including the Lazzaretto, which remained active gathering the people infested by plague in 1524. However,
at the discovery of the plague of 1630, the sick were conducted during the night to the Ospedale Maggiore to a separate apartment from the rest of the ill and ministers of the hospital, with an opening on the remote district of Santa Chiara. Things were orderly arranged, with men separated from women, and the infected from the suspected.
(Ibi, pp. 19-20)
The facilities of the surrounding rural areas should also be included (these were also almost twenty in number). Of all the hospitals of the rural and city areas, only seventeen were reunited in the Ospedale del Santo Spirito della Carità or Casa della Carità, which, at the end of 16th century, was renewed and named Ospedale Maggiore of Lodi. The first delegates of the new hospital were: Taddeo Fissiraga, abbot of S. Pietro in Lodivecchio, Giovanni Forti, administrator of the Ospedale di S. Spirito and in charge of the cathedral; Antonio Sozzi, Giovanni Ponteroli, Giovanni Antonio Micolli (experts in law); Giacomo Sarone, ducal secretary and Francesco Meletto, apostolic writer. In 1466 the number of the delegates grew up to 22 members, plus an additional delegate of the City.
Over the 16th and 20th century the hospital undergoes several transformations and as a result today it's very hard to locate the place where the Casa della Carità used to be. In the 18th century the imposing neoclassical façade looking on the Piazza Ospitale was erected, designed by the architect Giuseppe Piermarini. Thanks to a radical building innovation, studied and applied by Luigi Trovati and the hospital admistration, between 1869 and 1882 another impressive façade was created, this time on the west side of the building (on today's Via Bassi). A small celebrative bust dedicated to Trovati, made by Tomaso Giudici, is today placed in the garden at the entrance of the building looking on Via Bassi; the same entrance that takes to the Chiostro della Farmacia, where the Collezione Anatomica Paolo Gorini is located. Between 1894 and 1904 took place the general reform of the hospital of Lodi, and a committee for the creation of a Children Hospital was established in 1925. In the same year, a very wealthy man named Antonio Lombardo died, and in his last will and testament he left his plot of Santa Maria of Villanova Sillaro to the Ospedale Maggiore, asking the administrators of the Opera Pia to realize a gynaecology/obstetrical ward dedicated to the memory of his mother, and named after her.
the two initiatives, in response to a strong and long felt necessity to have two separate institutions to help sick children and women both healthy and in need of gynaecological or obstetrical care, were unobtainable in the great hospital, given its lack of separate spaces and other obvious reasons; so they were destined to meet and reunite in the current […] Padiglione Maternità e Pediatria.
The rich and still unsurpassed monograph by Agnelli, regarding the Ospedale Maggiore of Lodi and many times directly and indirectly quoted in this section, clarifies some episodes in the period between 1881 and 1911 relative to the "Gorinian relics". It's worth transcribing it in its full lenghth:
(Ibi, pp. 57-58)
The Collezione Paolo Gorini is located inside the Ospedale Vecchio of Lodi, situated in the wonderful 15th century Chiostro della Farmacia.
Wednesday from 10.00 to 12.00,
Saturday from 9.30 to 12.30,
Sunday from 14.30 to 16.30.
The Collezione Paolo Gorini, born in 1981 in the former chapter house of the Ospedale Vecchio, currently presents a new arrangement, thanks also to the works done to expand rooms, create a reception and conference room.