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Pagina dell'erbario Gardoni - Saponaria officinalis

Guided tours of the Gardoni Herbarium

04 June 2022

Special guided tours of the Gardoni Herbarium will be conducted on Saturday 4 June. A selection of material not generally accessible to the public, recently discovered and catalogued, will be illustrated to groups of 25 people by reservation to be made using the form available on this page. Five times are available while places last: 3.30 pm, 4.30 pm, 5.30 pm, 6.30 pm.

In the mid-19th century, Luigi Gardoni ran the Antica Spezieria di San Giovanni and devoted his life to the collection of medicinal plants. Combining information on traditions, pharmaceutical and cosmetic uses of plants, mixing legends, science and a good dose of creativity, he created an eclectic herbarium, impossible to complete and heterogeneous in its aims.

Let us give the numbers: the herbarium includes 268 files and more than 10,000 sheets containing dried plants from different parts of the world. There are 447 boxes containing plant parts and a plethora of advertising materials, illustrations, book pages and manuscripts, along with poems, personal notes and commercial products. This miscellany is a great time capsule, a cross-section of 19th-century pharmaceutical life and the relationships still alive today between doctors and patients, cures and trade, men and plants, science and superstition.

The Gardoni Herbarium is neither a pharmacopoeia nor a scientific herbarium, but the reason for living of a man poised between the desire for knowledge and the demon of accumulation. It offers a historical cross-section that remains relevant today: that of human expectations for better health and the blurred boundary between science and desires. At the same time, it shows a world from which many plants have disappeared because they have been replaced by more effective remedies or replaced by something else in the consumer’s imagination.



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4 June 2022
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Orto Botanico
via Farini 90
Parma, 43121 Italia
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U.O. Sistema Museale di Ateneo
+39 0521 032951
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