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A notorious episode took place in Turin in January, 1889: Nietzsche’s mental breakdown. That very occurrence marks the start of the hospitalization of the philosopher in mental institutions: accompanied by his friend Franz Overbeck, he first went to Basel where he stayed only for a week (from the 10th to the 17th of January, 1889); he was then taken by his mother to Jena where he actually stayed for more than a year (from January 18th , 1889 to March 24th, 1890). The article will focus on the philosopher’s diagnosis starting from his clinical records, passing though the hypotheses of his contemporaries, until some recent ones. The aim will be to overcome manichean and univocal positions both of madness and illness.