S. Maria della Pietà

Immagine - Manicomio di Santa Maria della Pietà

 Anonimo (sec. XIX)

Manicomio di S. Maria della Pietà. – [Roma : Stabilimento Tipografico Aureli e C., 1863]. - 1 stampa; 270 x 343 mm. - C. [316]

In: Le scienze e le arti sotto il pontificato di Pio IX [vol. II] / [Cacchiatelli P. e Cleter G.]. – 2° edizione. – Roma: Stabilimento Tipografico Aureli e C., 1863. – Indicazione dei curatori dall'epistola ai lettori. BPR N 4

This book, written to celebrate the greatness of the sciences and the arts under the pontificate of Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), is bound in two volumes, and contains the single issues designed for periodical publication, once or twice a month, with the sheets having progressive numbering; each issue contains two copper engravings.

Much of the second volume is dedicated to the charitable institutions and hospitals of Rome. In particular, one of the parts, consisting of four sheets, describes and illustrates the works planned and implemented under the pontificate of Pius IX to modernize the old buildings of the asylum as well as the newer portions of the facilities.

In 1860, the first measure was the enlargement of the entrance, which was also embellished in various ways in order to give the impression that the place was less depressing.
The S. Spirito hospital sold some buildings, which were then used as the women’s section, until then narrow, uncomfortable, damp and unhealthy. A new infirmary was built, as well as a wardrobe, terraces to hang laundry, and six new cells for the violent patients. The courtyard, previously used to dry laundry, became a garden.
After Pius IX allocated the funds, the men’s section was refurbished. There were changes in the appearance and functions of the courtyards: the first one, surrounded by a portico with grotesque decorations on the walls, became a garden, while the second one was provided with plants. A third garden was also added. The purchase of some buildings, located on the southern side, and the clearing of the old building, brought about the reorganization of the premises, with special attention for the distribution of the bathrooms, showers and rest beds to be used after the baths. A special room for hydrotherapy was built, with cold showers operated by pumps, with water coming from above and below, as well as medical and mineral water baths. There were significant alterations in the dining areas, with a significant expansion of the kitchens on the ground floor and the opening of the arches towards the garden in the refectory for the “peaceful inmates”. The stairways leading to the upper floors were embellished, lighted and extended, and the upper floors were also provided with further spaces and decorations; the dormitory for the “peaceful” inmates was also improved and lighted, and a new dormitory was built for the “dirty” inmates with big windows facing onto the garden, and another dormitory for the “agitated” inmates. The new structure of the asylum was provided with a common chapel as well as a Library, enriched by numerous fine books donated by His Holiness.

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