logo Museo Galileo - Institute and Museum of the History of Science
  • Shop window and sign of the Pharmacy of the Moor, Florence.zoom in altra finestra

Farmacia del Moro [Pharmacy of the Moor]

The origin of this pharmacy is very ancient, dating in all probability from the time of the Florentine Republic. Called "del Moro" (of the Moor) or "del Saracino" (of the Saracen) in acknowledgement of the fame attained by the Arabs, already at that time skilled manipulators of drugs and masters of the pharmaceutical art, it was originally located at the beginning of Via Cerretani, facing Canto alla Paglia. The pharmacy became the most famous one in Florence in the 16th century when, under the management of the pharmacist Anton Francesco Grazzini, known as Lasca, pharmacist, poet, playwright, novelist, and founder of the Accademia degli Umidi, it became a meeting point for the men of letters of the time.

Testifying to that ancient history today there remain, unfortunately, only the shop windows, representing a moor's head, and the memorial stone inside, which bears the following inscription: "In this laboratory, formerly "del Saracino" or "del Moro", since MDXXI was the pharmacist A.F. Grazzini da Staggia, graceful poet, playwright and novelist who here welcomed in particular Machiavelli, Mazzuoli da Strada and Zanchino, who with other learned men in joyful meetings formed the Accademia degli Umidi, later called Fiorentina, whose members then became those of the famous Crusca, in which they took their names from exploits as a fish darts from the wave to seize a heedless butterfly". The shop windows and the memorial stones were added by Dr. Taverna in 1905 when he bought the pharmacy, which was moved at that time to its current location facing the Baptistery of San Giovanni.

As recalled by Pedrazzini, the pharmacy also had a collection of white ceramic jars with inscriptions in gold letters dating fom the 18th century, now lost. In 1966, during the flood of the Arno, ancient documents, instruments and objects of various kinds were entirely destroyed.


Texts by Antonella Gozzoli

English translation by Catherine Frost

Last update 16/gen/2008