The Guiacum Barrels Between Science and Esoterism: Tommaso Campailla Genius Loci


  • Maria Buscemi Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Histology, University of Palermo, I


Tommaso Campailla, Guiacum , Barrels , Vapour , Stoven


Tommaso Campailla, as a typical man of his time, had a good humanistic and scientific education. He was born in Modica in 1886 from an aristocratic family. When he was sixteen years old he moved to Catania to study law, but in a short time he came back to his native town where he preferred to study as an autodidact. He got married and had children and was elected senator seven times. In spite of his particular look, he was appreciated for his vast culture and his great sensibility. Giovanna Finocchiaro Chimirri noticed his very kind soul and called him: “the christian and Italian Lucretio” . In addition, he was a friend of the Arcadian poet Girolama Lorefice Grimaldi. Campailla was a very good medical doctor, although he was an autodidact, and he was very able to inculcate love for medical studies in many students. He fought syphilis rheumatism in a “modern” way, using the “guaiacum barrels” or “vapour stovens” that he had invented. He died in 1740 in Modica.