"Message from the Director" in the order of publication from the present to the past, for one year . The contents will be updated gradually.
May 1 2023
Santa Maria Nuova Hospital
Santa Maria Nuova Hospital is the oldest hospital in Florence and the largest one in the Tuscany Region.
This hospital is located right behind the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.
It has been functioning as a magnificent hospital for 700 years in the same building, which is very typical of Florence.
In the 13th century, it was founded by a banker named Folco Portinari, who was the father of Beatrice.
Beatrice was loved by Dante Alighieri, the famous poet who wrote "The Divine Comedy" .
He decided to build the hospital after being convinced by his housekeeper Mona Tessa.
Her tomb is still in the hospital's courtyard.
In the 14th century, a detailed regulation consisting of 34 articles was created to manage and operate the hospital.
This regulation is considered a model for today's hospital organizations.
Over time, the hospital became rich through donations and gifts.
It has been decorated by Florence's artists.
In the 15th century, Pope Martin V visited the hospital.
During the outbreak of the plague (black death), the isolation ward was established.
It was the first one in the world.
A swaddled doll of a child is also on display.
In the underground of the adjacent church, there is a room where Leonardo da Vinci conducted dissections in the 16th century, and the "bathtub" where he washed dead bodies.
As mentioned in the "Milan" edition in February 2021, Leonardo da Vinci was born in the village of Vinci near Florence in the 15th century.
He left remarkable achievements in various fields.
He is most admired as a painter of "The Last Supper" and "Mona Lisa".
However, it should not be forgotten that he was also a great anatomist.
At the time, the Church prohibited dissections, but Leonardo, who believed that anatomy was essential for studying painting and sculpture, performed 32 dissections himself.
He is the founder of modern anatomy.
He performed dissections in hospitals in Milan and Rome.
In Florence, he also dissected bodies that had been brought to this underground room at Santa Maria Nuova Hospital.
April 1, 2023
Children's Hospital (Orphanage)
A short distance north of the Cathedral, you will find an old children's hospital.
It was built in the 15th century with donations from silk merchants.
Originally, its purpose was to provide relief for orphans and abandoned children, hence it was called the "Orphanage."
It is the oldest orphanage in Europe.
In Florence, such charitable works were actively pursued, and there were also facilities for unmarried mothers located beside the Cathedral.
The orphanage, like the dome of the Cathedral, is one of the earliest examples of Renaissance architecture in Florence designed by Brunelleschi.
Columns have once again become an important element in architecture after a long time since ancient Greece.
The front of the first floor features a long corridor with columns and nine large arches.
Beautiful blue ceramic medallions are embedded at the top of each column.
These medallions, designed by Antonio della Robbia, depict infants swaddled in white cloth.
In medieval times, there was a custom of wrapping newborns with bandages to protect them from harm, known as swaddling.
This practice was advocated by Soranus of Ephesus, renowned as the founder of obstetrics, and recommended by the famous Roman physician Galenus during the Roman era.
This harmful practice continued widely throughout the Middle Ages until the early 19th century.
The term "swaddling" is still used today, but it refers to clothing for newborns or "swaddling clothes" rather than bandages.
Furthermore, at the end of the corridor, there is a "revolving door" where mothers could abandon their children without being seen by others, which is still present and evokes a sense of sadness.
Facing the beautiful courtyard surrounded by the colonnade, there is a colored terracotta
This is also a work by Antonio della Robbia.
The Annunciation is a famous event mentioned in the Christian New Testament.
The angel Gabriel descended from heaven to appear before the Virgin Mary and informed her that she had conceived a child by the will of God.
The angel instructed her to name the child Jesus.
Although Mary was initially confused, she accepted by saying, “I am the Lord's servant.
Let it be to me according to your words.”
This theme recurs in artistic works within the Christian cultural sphere.
A detailed explanation of the Annunciation will be provided in the section on the Uffizi Gallery.