Oreste Trabucco (1967) is lecturer in History of Science at “Suor Orsola Benincasa” Uni-versity in Naples. Among his publications are «L‘opere stupende dell‘arti più ingegnose». La recezione degli Pneumatiká di Erone Alessandrino nella cultura italiana del Cinquecento (Flor-ence, 2010) and the critical editions of Giovani Battista della Porta, Pneumaticorum libri tres (Naples, 2009).
As is well known, a recent historiographical trend in the history of medicine has shown that charlatans were an important part of the early modern medical world. My talk will focus on a famous Italian physician, who was reputed as a charlatan: Leo-nardo Fioravanti. Leonardo Fioravanti (1517-1588[?]) was some sort of Italian Paracelsus; as a fierce anti-Galenist, he was a surgeon, an apothecary as well as an alchemist; throughout his life, he was impelled by “the intention of going traveling throughout the world in order to gain knowledge of natural philosophy”. While vilified by the medical establishment, Fioravanti, wandering through Italy, declared: “I will show how to make many new medicines, as well for wounds, as for the other sorts of sores, which have not been used neither of old doctors, nor of new; the which remedies are of such virtue and strength, that the world will wonder at them for their notable quick working”. Fioravanti was one of the wonders of his age; he was already well known inside and out-side of Italy while during his lifetime: the English physician John Ester, who translated an abridged edition of his Cirugia in 1580, called him “the worthy and famous Capitaine Si-gnor Leonardo Fioravanti of Bologna”.