In this week “History & Territory” section of the Guarini Wine Journey we tell you about a curiosity recently found in our archive, a letter, a medical consultation, sent in 1798 by the most famous doctor of the XVIII century,  Domenico Cotugno to Duke Francesco Antonio Guarini. Because of his sedentary life and abundance of food, the Duke has an enlarged liver and fluids in excess that cause him a general state of exhaustion. The biggest physician in the Kingdom of Naples at the time recommends, in addition to medicines, a proper diet based on broth rice, broth, roast, herbs infusions (sage, arnica or camembert, quinine berries) to drink several times a day, and a healthy lifestyle that alternates resting on horse riding, after having baths possibly with sea water. An interesting prescription, very modern, as it appears in the original letter, of which we attach copy and transcription.
Domenico Cotugno from Ruvo di Puglia (1736-1822) is with no doubts, the most famous doctor of the Neapolitan Kingdom of the Eighteenth century,”says Prof. Giancarlo Vallone, Head of the Faculty of Law at the University of Salento, Professor of History of Institutions Political and historical of the Right to whom we ask to sum up in a few lines the figure and the importance of the doctor. His life was entirely devoted to university studies obtaining his post when he was still young, in 1766. The esteem that had for him Antonio Genovesi, the great reformer of Neapolitan studies, and the pages written by Benedetto Croce, may already indicate, at least on the surface, the innovative tract of Cotugno’s work: the rejection of the deductive and Aristotelian tradition in the name of experimental researches, in truth not entirely new in the medicine studies prior to him, and the brilliant intuition to put anatomy as the foundation of every medical study.
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