The museum history of the specimens made by Paolo Gorini, who between the 1840s and 1880s set up a rich collection that today's preserved only in minimal part, is probably part of the anatomical collection in Lodi named after the famous scientist. Located in Lodi's Ospedale Vecchio (where Paolo Gorini lived from 1834 to 1881) and part of the wonderful fifteenth-century Chiostro della Farmacia, the collection dedicated to Gorini was set up by Antonio Allegri, ex mayor of the city and pathologist. It was inaugurated in 1981, on the centennial of the scientist's death, by the historian of the Risorgimento Giovanni Spadolini, who at the time was Prime Minister (Allegri, 1981). Antonio Allegri, who alongside Luigi Samarati was one of the most capable and attentive scholar of Gorini of the 20th century, therefore realized a far reaching project that perhaps resumed an interrupted work that had started when Gorini was still alive.
The history of the Gorinian specimens is indissolubly connected to their expositive nature, rooted in both their didactic characteristics (like with dry specimens) and their celebrative quality (e.g. the numerous petrified heads and entire bodies). Several celebrities of the 19th century visited the scientist's lab (including Giuseppe Garibaldi, in 1862), and the Gorinian specimens inspired a good part of the taste for the macabre and the clinical of the Italian literary movement called Scapigliatura. As for the exhibition of the specimens, the "Paolo Gorini museum" existed long before 1981, and its history goes back to when the scientist died, and the acquisition of the specimens by the State was successfully obstructed by the distinguished physiologist Jacob Moleschott, who advised against it. So, the specimens where donated to the city of Lodi. Between the end of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century the municipal institution tried hard to find a suitable location for them, until it gave them, in 1906, to the Ospedale Maggiore, to be kept in the anatomical museum.
During the 20th century the specimens have often been moved with more or less fortune from one hospital to the other, though always in Lodi, but definitely losing the popularity they once had.
The museum created by Allegri in 1981 gathered almost 200 human anatomical specimens and was set up in the former chapter house of Lodi's Ospedale Vecchio. The setting, which includes ceilings with luxurious 16th century frescoes by Giulio Ferrari, was ideal and the visitors in the 1980s were numerous. However, maybe also because of Allegri's death, the arrangement never evolved, interrupting it's development and its potential for at least 20 years. Only in 2000, thanks to local institutions but first of all of the Azienda Sanitaria Locale and the Ospedale Maggiore, the Gorinian collection found new life and began to slowly receive the cares it needed; culminating with the publication in 2005 of the catalogue Storia di uno scienziato, La collezione anatomica Paolo Gorini and the beginning of a project of requalification, still in progress today. Between 2006 and 2007, the ASL, owner of the specimens, signed an agreement with the City of Lodi to guarantee an adequate scientific management of the collection. According to the agreement, a scientific committee of 5 voting members has been established, formed by representatives of the ASL, the City of Lodi, the Scientific Director of the collection (and Director of the Documental and Study Centre Paolo Gorini) and two academic exponents (from the Università dell'Insubria e and the Università degli Studi di Milano).
Allegri's dated arrangement remained unchanged (excluding some additions like new cabinets, furniture and curtains) until 2009, when the architectural work to redefine the exhibitive areas began thanks to the joint effort of the City, the Fondazione Comunitaria di Lodi, the Province of Lodi and the ASL. Although the decision to begin a large scale operation aimed at creating a museum of the ‘History of anatomical preparation in Lombardy, from the 18th to the 20th century' has been put forth by the Direzione Generale of the ASL and the City of Lodi ever since 2007, the first step of the project (long pondered and rightly so) has come true only in the last two years. Finally, in 2009, the works for the expansion of the exhibition rooms, the creation of a reception area, of adequate restrooms and of a conference room started. On December 12th 2010 the collection of Gorini's specimens was returned to the City, modernized and ready for additional substantial transformations. A further increase of the number of exhibits is also under consideration, adding more of Gorini's artifacts and those created in the first decade of the 20th century by the physician Giuseppe Paravicini (kindly offered by the Istituto di Medicina Legale dell'Università degli Studi di Milano to be kept in this collection).
In anticipation of EXPO 2015, between 2014 and 2015 the City of Lodi, thanks also to the contribution of the Fondazione della Banca Popolare di Lodi and of the Province of Lodi, has provided the collection with multimedia devices and other aids to make the scientific and cultural contents of the exhibition more accessible and comprehensible.
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.