Location Livorno, IT
Giuseppe Tagarelli
February 15, 2021

12. Giuseppe Tagarelli

Giulio Aristide Santorio, Malaria (1883)

Mal aria, Mal aire, Mal aere, a word that over the centuries has indicated not only a cause but also a disease that has conditioned the economic, social, political and cultural life of the Italian peninsula; an invisible agent that has shaped history. After the Italian unity there were 600,000 infected and 15,000 deaths per year, but the statistics do not tell how Malaria has affected the landscape and human geography. The anthropologist and researcher Giuseppe Tagarelli gives us a historical account of a disease which, with a temporal overlap, becomes the mirror of the Third Millennium.

“… the corpus of empirical remedies represents a precious heritage of immaterial culture, often marked by a millenary tradition handed down from generation to generation. Many of the herbal remedies adopted up to the use of kinin prophylaxis correspond to those described between the first and second centuries AD by Pliny the Elder, Galen and Dioscorides, for the treatment of intermittent fevers, splenomegaly, jaundice and kidney failure. And even the tradition of combining the magical rite with the assumption of the empirical remedy finds correspondence with a fragment of the Ebers papyrus which reads: magic is effective with drugs, and drugs are effective with magic… ”


Giuseppe Tagarelli (Cosenza, 1968) with a degree in Natural Sciences and PhD in Anthropology, he is a researcher at the CNR at the Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Systems of the Mediterranean. Former professor at the University of Messina and the Mater Boni Consilii University of Tirana, he turns his scientific interest to the study of landscape, ethno-botany and biodemography. To date, he is the author of more than 100 scientific articles published in national and international books and journals.