martedì 27 dicembre 2016
Discover Salerno Monuments: Minerva Garden and the Tradition of Salerno Medical School
The Garden of Minerva is situated in the heart of Salerno city center, close to the Fusandola stream and the ancient medieval walls. In this area of extraordinary cultural value and outstanding natural beauty, visitors can discover the first example of a botanical garden, created in the 14th century by Matteo Silvatico, a prominent physician of the famous Salerno Medical School, the oldest university of medicine in the Western world.
Matteo Silvatico realized the ancient plant classification system working in the ancient “viridarium” (a Roman ornamental garden), an educational area where he cultivated plants used to produce the active ingredients employed for therapeutic purposes, providing their names and characteristics in the largest terrace in the garden. In the Garden of Minerva students of the School of Medicine were taught to recognize the plants used to treat diseases according to the theory of the four humours. In this theory, humours existed as liquids within the body and were identified as blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. These were in turn associated with the fundamental elements of air, water, earth and fire. A good balance between the four humours was essential to retain a healthy body and mind, as imbalance could result in disease.
The garden has been also enriched by Matteo Silvatico with rare and exotic species, which has been maintained over the centuries thanks to the exposure to the sun and the lack of northerly winds.
The elements of the garden which date back to the 700s are really enchanting: a fountain on a terrace and a long terraced stairway bordered by stucco pillars leading to a belvedere, the whole covered by a pergola.
In the Tea Room of the garden, visitors can also taste herbal teas, infusions and biscuits.
The amazing view of the sea and the old town makes even more pleasant the visit to the Garden of Minerva, a place where time seems to stand still and where nature reigns supreme!
Visit Salerno with Accademia Italiana and learn more about its fascinating history!