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26.05.2020 | main topic | Ausgabe 11-12/2020

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 11-12/2020

Exchanges and interactions between Padua and Vienna medical schools in the XIX century

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 11-12/2020
Fabio Zampieri
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It is well known that Padua Medical School, Italy, played a fundamental role in shaping modern medicine. Its golden age lasted from the late XV to the late XVIII century, thanks in particular to its extraordinary anatomical school. One of the last fundamental achievements of the Padua Medical School was the founding of the anatomo-clinical method and organ pathology by Giovanni Battista Morgagni, Professor of Theoretical Medicine in Padua from 1711 and 1715 and of Anatomy from 1715 to his death. This method, which dramatically changed the course of medical diagnosis and therapy, was immediately developed by the so-called Anatomo-Clinical School of Paris. Figures such as Jean-Nicolas Corvisart and René Laennec improved this new approach in the clinical setting with the method of auscultation and the introduction of the stethoscope. However, organ pathology probably found its most important modern expression in the so-called Viennese School of Medicine, thanks to figures such as Karl von Rokitansky, Joseph Skoda and Theodor Billroth. In that period, this school was described by the anatomist Rudolf Virchow as “the Mecca of medicine.” As is well known, Padua and Venice fell under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire between the end of the XVIII and the beginning of the second half of the XIX century. The most important influences and changes at the University of Padua were introduced by the Viennese School during the so-called Third Austrian Domination (1813–1866), with improvements of medical curriculum, the founding of new specialist medical institutes and a general advancement of medical science, inspired by the technical–practical approach typical of this school. In particular, the new chair and Institute of Pathological Anatomy was founded by Lodovico Brunetti, pupil of Rokitansky, who influenced his appointment at Padua. In this way, we can advance that, at the end, the Morgagni method came back to Padua through the leading role of the Vienna Medical School, which deeply influenced the University of Padua during the different phases of Austrian domination in north Italy.

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