The doctor and the hospital. The hospital of Santa Maria Nuova and medical professions in early modern Florence

Francesco Ciuti


This paper examines the role of urban hospitals in the evolution of medical professions in early modern Tuscany. By focusing on the relationship between the most important institutions of the Grand Duchy, especially Santa Maria Nuova in Florence, and the careers of doctors and surgeons, we can see that such public engagements were more important for the social and economic advancement of this professional category than academic involvement. Working at the hospital provided them with honor and respectability, keys to attracting a large clientele and to induction into the “Collegio medico”, the most important state organization for the supervision of medicine and the medical professions. At the same time, this reversal of preponderance between theory and practice reveals another element relevant to the new scientific significance of the hospital: the contact with an unparalleled number of clinical cases provided the basis for the medical improvements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


Florence; hospital; medical profession; medicine

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