The Apothecary Shop
The apothecary shop was the centre of ancient medicine besides being the place towards which both herb gatherers and the “pestatore” (the spice grinder), the apothecary, the doctor and the sick all gravitated.
The furniture characterizing the place mainly consisted of such fundamental items as: furnaces, distillation tools, mortars, glass containers, a press, locally gathered herbs and imported spices.
Furnaces were of the utmost importance for the daily running of the apothecary shop, since they were used both for the heat sterilization of instruments and to induce distillation.
In the 16th and 17th centuries there were mainly two types of furnaces: either fixed, usually earthenware made, or movable, usually copper or iron made.
The reverberatory furnace or the “bain-marie” (water bath) were in widespread use at the time, as opposed to the ash bath (cinerarium) or sand-bath (arenarium) methods that were hardly ever used.