His Anatomical Majesty

The fourth book in the Bizzarro Bazar Collection, published by Logos, is finally here.

While the first three books deal with those sacred places in Italy where a physical contact with the dead is still possible, this new work focuses on another kind of “temple” for human remains: the anatomical museum. A temple meant to celebrate the progress of knowledge, the functioning and the fabrica, the structure of the body — the investigation of our own substance.

The Morgagni Museum in Padova, which you will be able to explore thanks to Carlo Vannini‘s stunning photography, is not devoted to anatomy itself, but rather to anatomical pathology.
Forget the usual internal architectures of organs, bones and tissues: here the flesh has gone insane. In these specimens, dried, wet or tannized following Lodovico Brunetti’s method, the unconceivable vitality of disease becomes the real protagonist.







A true biological archive of illness, the collection of the Morgagni Museum is really a time machine allowing us to observe deformities and pathologies which are now eradicated; before the display cases and cabinets we gaze upon the countless, excruciating ways our bodies can fail.
A place of inestimable value for the amount of history it contains, that is the history of the victims, of those who fell along the path of discovery, as much as of those men who took on fighting the disease, the pioneers of medical science, the tale of their committment and persistence. Among its treasures are many extraordinary intersections between anatomy and art.






The path I undertook for His Anatomical Majesty was particularly intense on an emotional level, also on the account of some personal reasons; when I began working on the book, more than two years ago, the disease — which up until then had remained an abstract concept — had just reached me in all its destabilizing force. This is why the Museum, and my writing, became for me an initiatory voyage into the mysteries of the flesh, through its astonishments and uncertainties.
The subtitle’s oxymoron, that obscure splendour, is the most concise expression I could find to sum up the dual state of mind I lived in during my study of the collection.
Those limbs marked by suffering, those still expressive faces through the amber formaldehyde, those impossible fantasies of enraged cells: all this led me to confront the idea of an ambivalent disease. On one hand we are used to demonize sickness; but, with much the same surprise that comes with learning that biblical Satan is really a dialectical “adversary”, we might be amazed to find that disease is never just an enemy. Its value resides in the necessary questions it adresses. I therefore gave myself in to the enchantment of its terrible beauty, to the dizziness of its open meaning. I am sure the same fruitful uneasiness I felt is the unavoidable reaction for anyone crossing the threshold of this museum.


The book, created in strict collaboration with the University of Padova, is enriched by museology and history notes by Alberto Zanatta (anthropologist and curator of the Museum), Fabio Zampieri (history of medicine researcher), Maurizio Rippa Bonati (history of medicine associated professor) and Gaetano Thiene (anatomical pathology professor).


You can purchase His Anatomical Majesty in the Bizzarro Bazar Collection bookstore on Libri.it.

Gemelli siamesi


I gemelli siamesi sono una coppia di gemelli identici uniti in una parte del corpo dalla nascita.

L’evento è causato da una divisione tardiva dell’embrione:  i gemelli siamesi sono sempre ed esclusivamente monozigoti. Le tipologie cambiano a seconda delle parti in cui sono uniti e degli organi che hanno in comune: solitamente si dividono in quelle che non coinvolgono il cuore e l’ombelico e quelle che coinvolgono l’ombelico. A parte, sono classificate quelle “anomale”, in cui uno dei due embrioni è malformato o interno all’altro.


La nascita di gemelli siamesi è un’eventualità molto rara, circa una ogni 120.000 nascite, e nei tre quarti dei casi porta a morti premature a causa delle malformazioni degli organi interni.

3128517961_e89860de80_b3116781654_89037175fd_bIl termine “siamese” deriva dal caso più celebre, quello di Chang ed Eng Bunker, gemelli nati nel Siam (l’attuale Thailandia) nel 1811 uniti al torace da una striscia di cartilagine. I loro nomi possono essere tradotti nella nostra lingua rispettivamente come Sinistro e Destro.
Chang ed Eng Bunker, dopo essere emigrati negli Stati Uniti, lavorarono a lungo nel circo Barnum: sposarono due sorelle, ebbero 22 figli e vissero fino all’età di 62 anni.


Se uno dei due corpi non si sviluppa completamente, può dare origine a un gemello parassita; questo è il motivo per cui esitono uomini nati con arti in sovrannumero, o con teste o volti in posti inusitati all’interno del  corpo.


Seppure non frequenti, alcuni casi vengono registrati anche al giorno d’oggi. Ecco alcuni filmati che documentano l’esistenza e i problemi concreti che si trovano ad affrontare i gemelli siamesi.

Abby e Brittany Hensel festeggiano i sedici anni (commovente quando la madre dice di averle soprese mentre si toccavano il busto, cercando di capire dove “finiva” l’una e “incominciava” l’altra) :


Una bambina a due teste:


Una bambina nata con due facce, in India, è venerata come un’incarnazione divina:


Due sorelle siamesi congiunte alla faccia:


Due bambine attaccate per la testa: