Farmacia del Cinghiale [Pharmacy of the Wild Boar]
The pharmacy, whose foundation dates from the first half of the 18th century, owes its name to the fountain with a wild boar, known as the "Porcellino", a bronze statue by the sculptor Pietro Tacca (1612) which stood at its entrance in the past, and is now to be found on the shorter side of the Straw Market Loggia. Still today the pharmacy occupies its original site, on the ground floor of a building once owned by the Silk Merchants Guild, then by the Bankers Guild and lastly by the Ospedale degli Innocenti.
The pharmacy's ancient origin is documented in an important text, published in Florence in 1752, in which the Florentine physician Niccolò Branchi della Torre listed a series of chemical experiments conducted in the laboratory of this "Spezieria" (the text, now in the Palatino collection of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, bears the significant title "Index of chemical experiments that will be demonstrated by Niccola Branchi Doctor in Philosophy and Medicine during the current year MDCCLII in Florence in the Laboratory of the Spezieria del Cinghiale in Mercato Nuovo for the use of some associates"). This text not only testifies to the pharmacy's function as an avant-garde research centre, but it also shows the important status of Branchi, who in 1757 was appointed by Grand Duke Francis Stephen of Lorraine to open the first school of chemistry at Pisa.
In the 19th century the pharmacy became a meeting place for illustrious intellectuals, such as the authors Aleardi, Prati, De Amicis and Fucini, the latter recalled by a memorial stone inside the pharmacy.
The pharmacy has undergone numerous changes, also subsequent to damage caused by the flood of the Arno in 1966. Of its antique furnishings and original pharmaceutical equipment there remain only a scale for weighing persons and, on the outside, the white and green tiles framing the windows and front door.
Texts by Antonella Gozzoli
English translation by Catherine Frost
Last update 11/feb/2008