Farmacia Della Scaletta

Via Emilia, 95 - lmola (BO)

Farmacia Della Scaletta

The Scaletta pharmacy opened on 8 May 1766, after numerous attempts to give the Scaletta Hospital (founded in the 13th century) its own pharmacy.

It was only in the mid-1700s that the administrators of the Scaletta Society finally opened two rooms they owned under the Masolini colonnade, appointing Domenico Liverani director.

In 1788, after the vaulted ceiling had been raised and then painted by renowned artists Dalla Nave and Gottarelli, local cabinetmaker Magistretti was commissioned to build the shelving.

The first ceramic jars used in the pharmacy carry the date 1765 underneath.

Today 457 jars, roughly two-thirds of the 1804 inventory, have survived and have been catalogued. Following extensive research, it is thought that almost all of them were produced in Imola between 1765 and 1817.

The blue scrolls on a white background with the name of the contents inside, are testimony to the influence of the style of nearby Faenza which, in turn, was inspired by north European models.

The shapes of the five different types of containers used in the pharmacy are indicative of the fashion at the time: there are ceramic baluster jars in two sizes which were used to hold ‘simples’ (fruits, seeds, powdered roots), electuaries and chemical products, as well as jars or jugs for syrups and prepared juices.

The compound waters, on the other hand, were kept in bottles with narrow necks which were originally created purely as glass objects but adopted as they were very resistant.

The most distinctive jar in the collection is the ciborium, used for pills and ointments; the writing is in Latin, as are the formulas of the Antidotarium Bononiense (1750) which they were taken from.

Another unique feature of the furnishings is the row of drawers immediately below the jars, with labels of more than twenty plasters, also taken from the pharmacopoeia of Bologna.