Aula Magna – Accademia dei Fisiocritici

Aula Magna Fisiocritici Fisiocritici 2

The Home of the Academy

From its first historical home in Siena’s Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala, the Academy of the Fisiocritici moved to the Casa della Sapienza in 1694, premises more suitable for carrying out experiments.

The Academy entered into an agreement with the university to use the premises and this was the start of a long and fruitful collaboration.

The Casa della Sapienza, at that time part of the university, is now the Civic Library of the Intronati.

It was here that Pirro Maria Gabbrielli had the sundial built, the “Fisiocritic heliometer”, which was to regulate Sienese religious and public life throughout the 18th century. In 1798, the building was seriously damaged by an earthquake.

In 1816, the Granduke of Tuscany Ferdinand III bequeathed to the Academy its present seat, a former Camaldolensian monastery built in the 12th century. A law passed in 1939 confirmed its status as a protected building of artistic and historical interest.

The Academy renovated the building and here the library, the historical archives and the Natural History Museum have found a fitting home.

The building is made up of three floors, two of which face onto a courtyard with a 16th century well.

The lower cloister houses a large part of the geological collection while the zoology department can be found in the upper cloisters.

The Great Hall has a frescoed ceiling showing “The Triumph of Science”, painted by Vincenzo Dei in 1816.

It can accommodate 100 people and is provided with modern audiovisual equipment.

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