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  • Exterior of the Hospital of Orbatello, Florence.zoom in altra finestra

Ospedale di Orbatello [Orbatello Hospital]

The "Orbatello" hospice was founded in 1372 by Niccolò degli Alberti. It accommodated 200 elderly women, lodged in single rooms. In 1704 its interior was remodelled to provide space for sheltering "the shamefully pregnant". These were women who had decided to await the birth of an undesired child in a place far from home, with the assurance that the child would be taken in by the nearby Hospital "degli Innocenti". With the constitution of the Kingdom of Italy, some of the laws of the Piedmont State were introduced into Tuscany, among them the regulations on prostitution, which required a specialised women’s department for the cure of syphilis to be established. It was set up on the premises of the Orbatello Hospital, utilising rooms occupied by the last old women. At present, the hospital complex forms part of the University’s Derma-syphilitic Clinic.


Texts by Antonella Gozzoli

English translation by Catherine Frost

Last update 19/gen/2008