Rita Levi-Montalcini was an Italian neurologist whose discovery of nerve growth factor earned her the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Throughout her life, Levi-Montalcini's work in neurobiology earned her several other honors and awards, including the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement and the European Academy of Sciences' Leonardo da Vinci Award.
Luigi Galvani was an Italian physician, biologist, physicist, and philosopher. He is credited with the discovery of animal electricity and is considered a pioneer of bioelectromagnetics. He and his wife made one of the first forays into the study of bioelectricity when they discovered that the muscles of dead frogs' legs twitched when struck by an electrical spark.
Andrea Dotti was an Italian psychiatrist. He specialized in treating women with depression and was the assistant director of Rome University's psychiatric department. He was also a skier, tennis player, dancer, and art collector. He was married to famous actress Audrey Hepburn from 1969 to 1982, and the couple had one son. Dotti had several affairs during their marriage.
Italian polymath Gerolamo Cardano is best known for his iconic work Ars magna, or The Great Art, which contributed immensely to the field of algebra. Throughout his illustrious life, he had been a physician, a math lecturer, and an astrologer. He was also the first to describe typhus fever clinically.
Cesare Lombroso was an Italian criminologist, phrenologist, and physician. He founded the Italian School of Positivist Criminology at the end of the 19th century. Initially an army surgeon, he later became a professor of forensic medicine and hygiene. His works drew from the concepts of physiognomy, degeneration theory, and psychiatry. Later in life, be became interested in spirituality.
Girolamo Fracastoro was an Italian poet, physician, and scholar in astronomy, geography and mathematics. He is credited with authoring a theory, which is regarded as a precursor to germ theory; his theory was influential for almost three centuries. He is also credited with inventing terms, such as syphilis.
Gianna Beretta Molla was a Roman Catholic pediatrician, canonized as a saint for saving her unborn child’s life at the expense of her own. Although she knew that the removal of only the fibroma would endanger her life, she refused have an abortion, thus upholding the Roman Catholic doctrine that even an unborn child has a fundamental right to life.
Called the founder of experimental biology and father of modern parasitology, Italian physician, biologist, naturalist and poet Francesco Redi did the first major experiment to challenge spontaneous generation. His book Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl'insetti includes most of his famous experiments, while his poem book Bacco in Toscana is counted among the finest works of 17th-century Italian poetry.
Michele Ferrari is an Italian physician and cycling coach notorious for his role in supplying bicycle racers with performance-enhancing drugs. He received his degree in medicine and surgery at the University of Ferrara and became a specialist in sports medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome. His clients include Lance Armstrong, Michael Rogers, and Alexander Vinokourov.
Nobel Prize-winning cytologist and physician Camillo Golgi is remembered for his contribution to the study of the central nervous system. He revolutionized medical science with his staining technique and discoveries such as the Golgi cell, the Golgi tendon organ, and the Golgi apparatus, apart from his research on malaria.
12 Carlo Levi
Best known for his iconic documentary novel Christ Stopped at Eboli, Italian painter and author Carlo Levi had also studied medicine. His anti-fascist ideals and political activism got him exiled to Lucania. He was part of the neorealist and contemporary movements. He had also been a senator of the Italian parliament.
13 Pietro Bembo
Pietro Bembo was an Italian scholar, poet, and literary theorist. He was also a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and a member of the Knights Hospitaller, a Catholic military order. He played a key role in the development of the Tuscan dialect as a literary language. As a priest, he promoted the Christian perfection of Renaissance humanism.
Sixteenth-century Italian anatomist Gabriele Falloppio was also a Catholic priest. Of his many discoveries, the most well-known are the tubes which link the ovaries to the uterus, named fallopian tubes. He was also the first to offer written description of a condom as a protective measure against syphilis.
15 Dino Risi
While he matriculated in math and taught the subject later, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli also made pioneering discoveries as a physicist and physiologist. With works such as De Motu Animalium, he revolutionized the field of biomechanics, explaining muscular movements with the help of statics and dynamics.
27 Paolo Giovio
Paolo Giovio was an Italian historian, physician, biographer, and prelate. He is best remembered for his work which chronicles the Great Wars of Italy. Giovio is also remembered for authoring Historiarum sui temporis libri XLV, an acclaimed work of contemporary history.
Aloysius Lilius, also known as Luigi Lilio, is best remembered as the main author of the Gregorian Calendar. Well-versed in medicine and astronomy, Lilius hailed from Calabria, Italy, though not much is known about his life. His calendar was presented to Pope Gregory XIII by his brother Antonio.
A highly intellectual scholar and a reputed epistemologist, Giulio Giorello graduated from the University of Milan with philosophy and mathematics. He later taught physics and natural science in a number of reputed universities across Italy before being appointed as professor of philosophy of science at his alma mater. A prolific writer, he published around twenty major works in his lifetime.
Domenico Guglielmini is regarded as the pioneer of the Italian school of hydraulics, though he initially worked on astronomy. Apart from being a professor of hydrometry and mathematics, he was also a part-time physician, but eventually quit his research on hydraulics to focus on medicine full-time.