Venerabile Arciconfraternita della Misericordia di Firenze [Venerable Arch-confraternity of the Florentine Misericordia]
The Confraternity of the Misericordia was founded around 1240 for the purpose of assisting the ill and the imprisoned and burying the dead. Since its earliest years, it held a place of distinction in Florentine civic life and was the beneficiary of donations from rich merchants and lords. Grand Duke Peter Leopold, who was one of the "brothers", protected it during the suppression of the religious associations in 1784. During the 19th century the Confraternity was particularly active in the work of preventing epidemics. The activity of the Misericordia was extremely important during armed conflicts and, above all, during the two World Wars.
The Misericordia has a collection of objects for health care, including equipment, mainly medieval, for transporting the wounded and the ill. These objects, at present kept at the Pinti Cemetery, will soon be displayed in rooms now being rearranged. In the four rooms of the library are about 2,800 folders of hand-written documents.
Texts by Ilaria Marcelli
English translation by Catherine Frost
Last update 21/gen/2008