Gambaccini, Piero 1923-

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Gambaccini, Piero 1923-

PERSONAL: Born October 26, 1923, in Rome, Italy; son of Riccardo (a physician) and Ernesta (a homemaker) Gambaccini; married Bettie Gage Lippitt (a homemaker and translator), July 16, 1956; children: Riccardo, Alessandra (Sciascia) Gambaccini. Ethnicity:“Italian.”Education: Attended University of Pisa between 1940 and 1946; earned medical degree in Florence, 1946, specialization in radiology, 1949, and university teaching qualification in Rome, 1957. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Home—Italy.E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: University of Florence, Florence, Italy, professor of radiology, 1952-55; University of Rome, Rome, Italy, professor of radiology, 1955-59; San Giovanni di Dio (hospital), Florence, chief radiologist, 1959-81; Torrepalli Hospital, Florence, chief radiologist and medical director, 1981-84; retired, 1985. Founder of the first school in Italy for radiological technicians; founder of first treatment center for drug addicts in Florence, 1973; Lenitherapy Foundation of the Terminally Ill, founding member; Cassa di Rismarmio Bank, member of board of charitable distributions. Worked as volunteer missionary in Thailand.


I Mercanti della Salute, 2002, published as Mountebanks and Medicasters: A History of Italian Charlatans from the Middle Ages to the Present, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2004.

Contributor to medical journals. Co-author of two volumes of Tattato di Radiologia Medica. Also a lecturer at many national and international radiological conferences.

SIDELIGHTS: Piero Gambaccini told CA:“Following in my father’s footsteps, I became a medical doctor and then a professor of radiology. I practiced and taught radiology, both diagnostic and therapeutic, at the universities of Florence and Rome until, in 1958, I received an appointment as chief radiologist at the Florentine hospital San Giovanni di Dio, founded in the fifteenth century by Amerigo Vespucci’s uncle, Simone. I remained in this position until the hospital was moved to a new building, where I remained as chief radiologist and medical director until 1985, when I retired.

“During my professional years, my interest in traditional and alternative medicine took me to India, Afghanistan, and Niger. After retiring, I worked as a volunteer with the Catholic missionary order of Saint Camillus in Thailand, procuring and installing medical equipment for hospitals, leper colonies, and the Cambodian refugee camps. My work there was officially recognized by the Thai royal family and the government of Thailand. In 1986, still during the Cold War, I collaborated with the then Apostolic Nuncius, Archbishop Renato Martino (who was made a cardinal in 2003), providing radiological equipment to the Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane, Laos.

“Although I have published many medical papers and a treatise on radiology, I have always been fascinated by the psychological aspects of medicine and the relationship between doctor and patient. I especially admire the way American and English authors are able to explain complicated scientific or historical issues so that they can be read and understood by lay readers. I hope I have been able to accomplish this in my book Mountebanks and Medicasters: A History of Italian Charlatans from the Middle Ages to the Present. Seemingly a history of Italian medical quacks, the book explores the placebo effect, the relationship between doctor and patient, and offers a critique of modern medical practice.”



Choice, May, 2004, M. Kroger, review of Mountebanks and Medicasters: A History of Italian Charlatans from the Middle Ages to the Present, p. 1697.

SciTech Book News, March, 2004, review of Mountebanks and Medicasters, p. 79.