Giorgio Roster graduated from the Royal University in Pisa with a medical degree in 1864 and began his academic career in 1866, collaborating with the Chair of Applied Physiological and Pathological Chemistry at the Institute for Advanced Study in Florence. From the outset Roster exhibited a marked inclination for scientific experimentation. One of his principal interests was public hygiene and sanitation and he conducted important environmental research on the water, air and soil of Florence. In addition to his work as a physician, professor and hygienist, Roster cultivated a multitude of other interests, among them botany and mineralogy. He set up a state-of-the-art chemistry laboratory and was one of the first scientists in Italy to systematically use photography in scientific research.