Scarpa was Morgagni's most brilliant pupil at Padua, receiving his M.D. in 1770 at the age of eighteen. He was appointed Professor of Anatomy at Modena in 1772, at the age of twenty-one. In 1780 he worked for a while in London under Percivall Pott, William and John Hunter, and William Cruikshank, and following his return, was appointed Professor of Anatomy at the University of Pavia in 1783. In addition to his teaching duties at Pavia, Scarpa also practised surgery, where he became preeminent in the fields of ophthalmology and orthopædics. His textbooks on these subjects show designs for shoes for club feet, and describe procedures for operation of cataracts. Scarpa was also a keen patron of the arts, and formed a great collection of works of art. Scarpa's published works were all prepared with great care and were finely produced, often at considerable expense to himself. The best of his works was his Tabulæ neurologicæ ad illustrandam historiam anatomicam cardiacorum nervorum (Pavia, 1794), a study of the nerves of the heart. The seven plates, drawn by Scarpa himself, show great mastery of anatomy and draughtsmanship. They were engraved by Faustino Anderloni (1766-1847), whom Scarpa trained. In 1801 Anderloni was appointed Professor of Drawing at the University of Pavia on Scarpa's recommendation. Saggio di osservazioni e d'esperienze sulle principali malattie degli occhi, first published at Pavia in 1801, is a classic work on ophthalmology, becoming the standard textbook on the subject for several decades. It contains the first description of an operation of iridodialysis, and is adorned by three engraved plates.