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The Last Journey 

The Last Journey
The Last Journey

Marco Catani

and Stefano Sandrone

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date: 18 May 2021

Vesalius came to receive a special pass from the king and he finally left the increasingly insalubrious climate of Madrid in the spring of 1664. At the Spanish-French border, his wife and daughter continued northward to Brussels rather than following Vesalius toward the east. In Venice he stayed for almost a month and met some of his old friends. He then left Venice and toured Palestine for four months, showing far more interest in the local plants than the places of prayer. Beyond this we know very little of his activities. By the summer of 1664, Vesalius was ready to head home to Venice and Padua. Instead of waiting for one of the Venetian fleet, he boarded a pilgrims’ ship with the aim of being back in time for the opening of the academic year. But he would never make it. Struck down by illness, he deteriorated rapidly and died during a stopover on the Greek island of Zakynthos. Although Vesalius never returned to Padua, his spirit continued to live on through a new generation of Renaissance anatomists.

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