Hidden treasures

Hospital For The Incurable In Venice Zattere Pavement

Unknown places & works

Hospital For The Incurable In Venice Zattere Pavement

Along the wonderful Zattere pavement in Dorsoduro there is a building with interesting forms: the Hospital for the Incurable.

It was founded in 1517 by San Gaetano of Thiene to give hospitality to men and women suffering from what was then called the French disease: syphilis. At that time there was no adequate therapeutic means to combat this terrible venereal disease, so in fact, the building welcomed the incurable.

In 1560 a church was built in the middle of the present courtyard, which was in this way fragmented into four small triangular courtyards. The current four wellheads located on the sides represent evidence of the original allocation of space. In 1572 the building was rebuilt by Antonio Da Ponte on a design by Antonio Zertani and Jacopo Sansovino. The portal was also designed by Da Ponte, and was originally intended for one of the rooms of the Doge's Palace. In 1527 the noble Girolamo Miani became head of the hospital. He also added to the hospital a shelter for abandoned children; girls who had musical talent could become singers and their concerts were organized every Saturday in the church, which had an oval shape precisely for acoustic reasons.

Following the Napoleonic edicts of 1806 the hospital for the Incurable was closed. In 1819 it was adapted to artillery barracks and to increase the interior space, the church that stood in the centre of the courtyard was completely destroyed. During the 1900s it became the citizen Reformatory, but it was later closed and unused for a long period.

Today the building, after careful restoration, houses the Academy of Fine Arts.

If you want to know more curious places in Venice, our skilled guides will be happy to show you a lesser-known Venice ... away from the usual tourist routes there is a whole city to discover! Book now one of our private tours and dive into the magic of this extraordinary and timeless city!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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