Hidden treasures

The Music Room at the Venice Ospedaletto

Unknown places & works
ospedaletto-venezia

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

Latest posts

Venice: The Italia Theatre in Cannaregio

teatro_Italia_venezia
Unknown places & works

Along the busy road linking Santa Lucia train station to the Rialto Bridge in Venice there stands a peculiar neo-Gothic building with t...

View

Treviso: Villa Condulmer in Mogliano Veneto and Giuseppe Verdi

villa-condulmer
Big Names

Giuseppe Verdi is one of the most famous musicians of the 19th century... Even those who are not Opera experts recognise the arias of h...

View

Padua: The Anatomical Theatre at the University of Padua

teatro-anatomico-padova
Unknown places & works

The University of Padua, founded in 1222, is one of the most important symbols of culture in Italy... There are lots of places to disco...

View

Venice: The underwater Nativity set in the Venice lagoon

presepe-sommerso
Unknown places & works

On 26 January 1961 the Croatian Wrmac merchant ship sank off the island of Lido in the Venetian Lagoon, about 3 miles outside the harbo...

View

Top posts

Vicenza: The scenography of the Teatro Olimpico (‘Olympic theatre’)

olimpico-scenografia
Historical Curiosities

Vicenza is the city of Andrea Palladio (1508- 1580), one of the greatest architects of all time, especially as his classicism influence...

View

Padua: The ghosts in the Castle of Monselice

castello-monselice
Mysteries & Legends

Monselice is a splendid medieval town located on the hills south of Padova, offering stunning views on the surrounding landscape. The m...

View

Venice: The Othello by Orson Welles and the Bovolo stairs in Venice

Otello
Film Locations

Since the beginning of the seventh art, Venice has been chosen by many directors as a backdrop for movies, some have even made the hist...

View

Venice: The Garden of Eden on the Giudecca Island in Venice

giardino-eden-venezia
Unknown places & works

Behind the male prison on the Giudecca Island, there is a secret hidden garden, concealed from sight and with an intriguing name: the G...

View