Farmacia dell’Ospedale Santa Maria della Scaletta – Imola, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Farmacia dell’Ospedale Santa Maria della Scaletta

An intact, still operating pharmacy from the 18th-century filled with numerous artifacts and paintings.  


A pharmacy is usually not the first place you’d think to visit when vacationing in a new city. However, in the city of Imola, a visit to the Farmacia Comunale dell’ Ospedale is like walking through a museum. 

The building dates back to the 15th-century and the Farmacia dell’Ospedale was inaugurated around 1794, however, the interior has remained virtually unchanged.

Inside are more than 400 antique majolica vases known as albarellis, with the names of various medicaments written on the fronts. The roof vaults are decorated with paintings by Angelo Gottarelli and Alessandro Dalla Nave. They are an ode to the healing power of nature and medicine. Six terracotta statues made in Faenza, a historical city known for this type of art, are also housed inside the pharmacy.

The entrance was transformed in 1928 by the architect Gualtiero Pontoni, following the Art Nouveau and Liberty style common to the era.

The pharmacy operates during normal opening hours and entrance is free.

Know Before You Go

This is an operating pharmacy so be respectful, do not touch antique decorations and avoid loud talking.

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July 9, 2020

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