L'opera entomologica di Antonio Vallisnieri, professore dell'Ateneo patavino nel Secolo dei Lumi

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] The entomological work of Antonio Vallisnieri, professor of the University of Padua in the Century of Enlightenment

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[Autom. eng. transl.] A native of Garfagnana, a Paduan by adoption, a distinguished biologist a pupil of Marcello Malpighi: from the Este Duchy to the Republic of Venice, called to teach Medicine in the prestigious University of Padua, where he held the chair for thirty years, until his death. Thus one could summarize, in extreme synthesis, the existential parabola of Antonio Vallisnieri (fortress of Trassilico, 1661 - Padua, 1730), famous physician and naturalist, keen observer and experimenter, elegant descriptor and very prolific writer. Inevitably 'lent' from time to practice and medical science, he is actually above all a naturalist and biologist of great value. A little secondary then his work in the scenario of the Sixteenth-eighteenth century Medicine, studded in Italy with stars of the first magnitude; first of all the contribution to the morphological, anatomical, physiological and bio-ecological knowledge of the animal world, with particular regard to insects and parasitic worms. But Vallisnieri also took care of vertebrates and also moved into the plant world, geology and paleontology. In disputes over the great biological questions of his age he took clear positions. Against the proponents of epigenesis in the origin of organisms he supported the preformist theory, even if in some of his writings ideas emerge that make him a 'proto-evolutionist'. His contribution to the refutation of the spontaneous generation theory is also noteworthy: in the wake of Malpighi he demonstrated, among other things, that also the galligens insects derive from eggs, dissolving the doubts that Redi himself had had in this regard; important arguments against the generatio aequivoca he also drew from the study of parasitic worms. For the entomology of the first half of the eighteenth century, Vallisnieri is certainly the most important Italian. In his extremely articulated and complex scientific production, there are two titles of particular entomological relevance: Dialogues over the curious origin of many insects, Venice 1700, and Experiences, and observations around the origin, developments and customs of various insects, with others due to the natural, medical history, Padua 1713. Named for his son Antonio junior, in 1733 the physical and medical Works printed and handwritten by Kavalier Antonio Vallisnieri from his son Antonio, posthumous edition of the opera omnia, came out of the presses in Venice. , in three volumes. In addition to the above, Vallisnieri contributed to the study of insects in other ways. More than systematic bio-ecologist, he proposed a classification of entomics based on different living environments, which was appreciated by Réaumur. He described and illustrated the metamorphosis of various insects (Antelope, etc.), above all those on which his investigation dwelled in a broader and more in-depth manner, with entire chapters accompanied by valuable iconography, as is the case with Estro de Buoi 'and of the' Worm's Nose of the Sheep's Nose ', Diptera Estridi (Hypoderma, Oestrus) parasites of domestic animals, or the case of the' Mosca de 'Rosai', the Hymenum Argide pagan Arge. Together with Swammerdam and Lister, Vallisnieri also helped to clarify correctly the essence of internal parasitism in insects. In his works he also received contributions written by other contemporary authors with whom he was in correspondence, such as Diacinto Cestoni and Lorenzo Patarol, who thus had greater prominence. Vallisnieri constantly followed the criterion of doubt as a method to arrive at certain knowledge, in the conviction, reflected by the motto sensui magis quam rationi fidendum, that a rigorous observation can be worth more than the science encoded in the books. And he preferred to write in Italian rather than in Latin, which also spies on his modernity.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] The entomological work of Antonio Vallisnieri, professor of the University of Padua in the Century of Enlightenment
Original languageItalian
Title of host publicationAtti del XXV Congresso Nazionale Italiano di Entomologia
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventCongresso Nazionale Italiano di Entomologia - PADOVA -- ITA
Duration: 20 Jun 201624 Jun 2016


ConferenceCongresso Nazionale Italiano di Entomologia


  • Italia
  • Italy
  • University of Padua
  • Università di Padova
  • XVIII century
  • XVIII secolo
  • entomologia
  • entomology
  • history
  • storia


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