Plants of life and death at the Aboca Museum
Among the 1,500 books kept in the Aboca Museum’s Library of Antique Books, one tells the story of Chiron, the centaur that survived the venom on one of Hercules’s arrows thanks to an herbal remedy he grew himself. In another, “De virtutibus herbarum”, Saint Albertus Magnus discusses the connection between plants and the place where they grow. Another one yet contains the controversial theories laid out by Paracelsus, the founder of pharmaceutical chemistry, who was convinced that a good doctor should always know how to interpret any therapeutic plant’s appearance, since nature has “marked” every species – in code – with their healing qualities.
All in all, Sansepolcro’s entire Aboca Museum tells the story of the millenary relationship between man and plants.
It is a splendid treasure trove of knowledge, where herbal medicine takes the shape of bronze mortars, glass jars, scales, and the many other precision tools that doctors and scientists have used over the centuries to come up with new pharmacologic formulas.
The museum also includes a Poison Cell: look, but don’t touch! This is where life and death meet at an invisible border.