Hidden treasures

The Music Room at the Venice Ospedaletto

Unknown places & works

The Music Room at the Venice Ospedaletto

In the past, Venice had different institutions called Ospedali, which also served as shelters for the lonely, needy, elderly, orphans or children whose families could not look after them.

One of these institutions includes Santa Maria dei Derelitti, in the Castello district, called 'the Ospedaletto'. Due to its small size, it gave way to a very important tradition for the city: the chorus of maidens.

Since its founding in 1500s the orphans sang church hymns. It began as a way for them to learn the fundamentals of religion, but then they became so popular that an independent activity was started: with the donations collected during the concerts, in fact, a dowry for the girls was created allowing them to leave the institute and get married.

The girls also learned to play an instrument (wind or string), so that a real orchestra was founded with 40 instruments and they were followed by a master who often composed music especially for them.

To promote the concerts, a special room was created in 1776 that was called the 'Music Room', where the girls of the choir organized concerts. Let us not forget that Venice did not obey the papacy, which forbade women to perform.

In 1777 the great painter Jacopo Guarana was called to decorate the new room, and helped by the quadraturist Agostino Mengozzi Colonna, he created an incredible masterpiece. On the walls, the choir girls intent on playing or singing were represented, with incredible vivacity...

The hall is now part of a room for the care of older people but, on request, it can be visited.

If you would like to include this unusual place in your private tour of Venice, simply complete the form and tick the places you want to include in your visit in the ‘preferences for the tour' box!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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