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Pia Casa degli Incurabili, now Istituto Golgi


The Istituto Golgi, a famous geriatric institute, is a complex buildings built in various historical periods. The original nucleus dates back to the 12th century as can be seen from a document dated 1218 and was presumably founded by Cistercian monks from the Morimondo Abbey. In 1785 it was the famous architect Leopold Pollack, who was also responsible for Villa Reale in Milan, who was in charge of the extensions requested by Josef II, the Emperor of Austria. The aim of this work was to make the building suitable as a rest home for invalids. Hence the name, Pia Casa degli Incurabili, and it became an important hospital in the area. Further renovation and extension was carried out in the 19th century. The most important projects were carried out by Lorenzo Carmagnola in 1854 and in 1873 by Giuseppe Balzaretti, a noted architect famous for his work on the public gardens Giardini Pubblici in Milan. It was in those years that Camillo Golgi became the surgeon at the Pia Casa and, working in a small improvised laboratory in the kitchen of the apartment he had been assigned, developed the technique for colouring nerve tissue which would later be known as “the black reaction”. The importance of Camillo Golgi’s work was recognised in 1906 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine. The Pia Casa became the Golgi Institute and to this day maintains its leading position as a clinic and centre for medical research.