Thesis ID: CBB747095903

The Baths and the Medici: Taking the Waters in Grand Ducal Tuscany, 1537–1790 (2019)


This dissertation reconstructs and analyzes thermal baths as significant features of the scientific, medical, and court cultures in Early Modern Tuscany between 1537 and 1790. First, by analyzing the theoretical foundations of thermal water treatments, this dissertation reveals that baths were important new arenas of scientific culture. Doctors working at the baths experimented with the waters using new methods and new technology, such as thermometers and microscopes, thereby creating new scientific knowledge in a system that complemented formal university medical education and interacted with scientific societies in Tuscany and elsewhere. Second, a close analysis of medical treatises highlights the range of treatments available and the variety of diseases that were treated with mineral water. Patients traveled from near and far to take water cures for everything from headaches and back pain to kidney stones and skin rashes. Third, thermal baths were key public health resources within the Tuscan government. The ruling Medici and Habsburg grand dukes regulated water exportation, imposed routine inspections, and contracted for the maintenance of the bath facilities. This study of the political aspects of thermal baths reorients our understanding of the grand ducal regime and its ties to the Tuscan medical community.

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Authors & Contributors
Giuliano Pinto
Rinaldi, Massimo
Conforti, Maria
Buchanan, Ashley Lynn
Bartoli, Evangelista
Alberto Malvolti
SISMEL edizioni del Galluzzo
Aedes Muratoriana
University of South Florida
Earth sciences
Water resource management
Hydrothermal resources
Medicine and culture
Montaigne, Michel Eyquem de
Medici, family
Bartoli, Sebastiano
Wecker, Johann Jacob
Vallisneri, Antonio
Leonardo da Vinci
Time Periods
16th century
17th century
18th century
Early modern
15th century
Tuscany (Italy)
Pisa (Italy)
Naples (Italy)

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