1st Edition

The World of Girolamo Donzellini A Network of Heterodox Physicians in Sixteenth-Century Venice

By Alessandra Celati Copyright 2023
    254 Pages 6 Color & 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 6 Color & 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Girolamo Donzellini was born in 1513. He was a religious dissenter, a physician, and a bibliophile involved in the Medical Republic of Letters. He was put to death by the Venetian Inquisition in 1587, after being tried five times in his lifetime.

    Extending beyond an individual case study to a granular and probing account of the many connections between Venetian physicians and heterodox religious movements in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, this innovative monograph reveals the heretical networks of physicians in sixteenth-century Venice. In addition to Donzellini himself, the web of actors includes printers, scholars, women, and alchemists who were all committed to fighting against religious dogma and violence in a time and place when both were the order of the day.

    This book will appeal to researchers and students alike interested in the History of Medicine, the History of religious heterodoxy and tolerance, as well as the History of the Catholic Inquisition in Venice.


      1. Medicine, Reformation, and heterodoxy in the sixteenth century
      2. A network of dissident physicians

    1. Becoming a heretic. Medical studies and religious dissent, 1513-1545
    2. 1.1 A family of dissidents

      1.2 Patavina libertas

      1.3 Medical career and the growth of a heretical mind: Rome

    3. Healing the body, healing the soul: Venice, 1546-1553
    4. 2.1 Venice, city of heretics

      2.2 Women and the network

      2.3 Books, doctrines, and practices: the growth of heresy in 1540s Venice

    5. The diaspora
    6. 3.1 Italian physicians and religious migration

      3.2 Exile physicians and their networks

      3.3 Donzellini’s exile (1553-1560)

      3.4 Donzellini’s On the Continuity of Doctrine since the Origin of the World

    7. Heterodox physicians in front of the Inquisition: Venice, 1560s-1570s
    8. 4.1 Venetian heretical networks in the Counter-Reformation: 1560-1575

      4.2 Teofilo Panarelli and his sect: a secret sociality

      4.3 Heresy and alchemy at the Frari pharmacy: Antonino Volpe and Decio Bellebuono

    9. Donzellini’s return to the Republic of Venice, 1560-1587
    10. 5.1 Venice-Verona, 1560-1573

      5.2 Donzellini’s trials in the 1570s

      5.3 Girolamo Donzellini in the Respublica medicorum

      5.4 The epilogue

    11. ‘The best physician is a philosopher’: the thought of Girolamo Donzellini
    12. 6.1 Collaboration with the empiric Bovio: was Donzellini a Paracelsian?

      6.2 The Remedium ferendarum iniuriarum between Neoplatonism and radicalism

      6.3 ‘Medicus non tantum corporum, sed etiam animorum sit curator

    13. Conclusions. Beyond the frontiers of knowledge: networks and practices of dissent between science and faith


    Alessandra Celati has been a Marie Curie Global Fellow between Stanford University and the University of Verona. She works as a researcher in collaboration with the University of Verona.