Centro di Documentazione per la Storia dell'Assistenza e della Sanitą Fiorentina - Antico Ospedale di San Giovanni di Dio [Documentation Centre for the History of Florentine Social Assistance and Medicine - Ancient Hospital of San Giovanni di Dio]
The Documentation Centre was opened in July 1998. Its foundation was promoted by the University of Florence, the Province and the Commune of Florence, the Local Health Department USL 10, the Hospitals of Careggi and Meyer and the Florence Order of Physicians. During its first years of activity, the Centre engaged in organising a museum displaying works coming from the Hospital of San Giovanni di Dio, in whose monumental structure it is housed.
The objectives of the Centre consist of the conservation, promotion and dissemination of the scientific, artistic, historical, documentary and library heritage within the sphere of the medical sciences. The Centre promotes studies and research, as well as the production of printed and multimedia documentation.
The collection of medical instruments was formed during the year 2000, by urging physicians to donate to the Centre their obsolete instrumentation. The instruments in the collection (19th and 20th centuries) belong to different sectors of specialisation.
The historic Hospital of San Giovanni di Dio was founded in 1380 by Simone Vespucci under the name of Santa Maria dell'Umiltą. Its objective was that of providing shelter and assistance to pilgrims and the poor. Over the course of the 15th century, no longer under the patronage of the Vespucci family, it passed under the supervision of the Capitani del Bigallo, a congregation delegated to supervise all of the hospitals. On February 4, 1588, Grand Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici assigned the hospital to the Monks of San Giovanni di Dio, a hospitaller order founded in Spain by Giovanni Ciudad in the 16th century. Starting from 1635, the monks also engaged in enlarging the structure of the building. Dating from the first years of the 18th century is the reconstruction, to the project of the architect Carlo Marchettini, that conferred on the hospital its present form. During the first decades of the 19th century its surgical activity was incremented, a sector that was to continue to operate, on the historic premises in Borgo Ognissanti, up until the 1970s.
Texts by Ilaria Marcelli
English translation by Catherine Frost
Last update 18/feb/2008