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  • Courtyard of the Misericordia e Dolce Hospital, Prato.zoom in altra finestra
  • Exterior of the Misericordia e Dolce Hospital, Prato.zoom in altra finestra

Ospedale della Misericordia e Dolce [Misericordia e Dolce Hospital]

The Hospital of San Silvestro or of Dolce (from the name of the founder, Dolce de' Mazzamuti) was instituted near the end of the 13th century, along with the other three important Prato centres providing relief and charity to the needy: the Misericordia, the Ceppo Vecchio and the Ceppo Nuovo hospitals. During this same period a pharmacy was founded in the hospital, which was to follow the destiny of the institution itself. In the first half of the 16th century, after the sacking of Prato by Spanish troops (1512) and a severe outbreak of the plague (1526), the hospital and the other three centres of assistance were closed at the order of Grand Duke Cosimo II de' Medici. After many vicissitudes, the hospital was reopened in June 1545 and was united to that of the Misericordia. Subsequently, it substantially increased its assets by expropriating the property of other institutions, some of them very important, such as the Hospital of Altopascio. In 1783 Grand Duke Peter Leopold of Lorraine added to these assets those of the suppressed monastery of Santa Caterina. In the first half of the 19th century, the hospital was described by Emanuele Repetti as a place "situated in a secluded corner of the city amid spacious gardens and in a peaceful, well ventilated location". From 1897 to 1933 the artistic heritage of the hospital was gradually consigned to the Commune of Prato, and is now kept in part at the Civic Museum.


Texts by Antonella Gozzoli

English translation by Catherine Frost

Last update 21/gen/2008