The Antica Spezieria di San Giovanni is a former historical pharmacy located in Parma, inside the abbey of San Giovanni Evangelista.
Antica Spezieria di San Giovanni History
The first news of a apothecary inside the abbey complex of San Giovanni Evangelista dates back to 1201, although a space intended for the production of medicines, both for the use of monks and for the assistance of pilgrims and the city community, was already existing since its foundation in 980 AD By the end of the fifteenth century the Spezieria had reached a high professional qualification, so much so that the monks took care of the arrangement of the premises with the purchase of furnishings and equipment, some of which are still present in the current museum route.
The purchase deeds of herbs and materials testify to a thriving and highly productive activity, thanks also to the special duties granted to the monastery, which made the Spezieria di San Giovanni Evangelista a real leader in the pharmacopoeia sector, attracting accusations of competition unfair by the private shops of the city.
The layout underwent a radical change in 1766, when the Benedictines had to secularise the pharmacy to avoid its closure imposed by the Bourbon minister Guglielmo Du Tillot. The management of the pharmacy was then entrusted to Luigi Gardoni, a salaried apothecary, who passed it on to his descendants until 1881. In 1896 the State acquired the premises, which were reopened to the public in 1951, collecting inside a collection of mortars, vases and other objects from various entities and from private donations.
In ancient times there were eight rooms in the monastery destined for the Spezieria, while the current layout, which dates back to the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the following one, includes four fully furnished rooms.