The Wheel of the Innocents in the Monastery of the Pietà in VeniceUnknown places & works
The Wheel of the Innocents in the Monastery of the Pietà in Venice
The majestic neo-classical church of the Pietà stands next to St. Mark's Square in Venice, along Riva degli Schiavoni. Here, concerts are often held with Antonio Vivaldi's music, who during his lifetime was the master of the choir of the pious Institute.
Perhaps not everyone knows that Vivaldi never set foot in the present-day church because the great composer died in Vienna four years before the building was rebuilt by Giorgio Massari.
If you are looking for the ancient complex, you need to head for the nearby Hotel Metropole... Upon entering the lobby of the hotel, at the far end on the right, you will notice two columns that were part of the ancient Ospedale of the Pietà, so called because it was originally a place of hospitality for orphans or children from poor families. The word Ospedale comes in fact from the verb to host.
One of the side doors of the hotel, namely the one facing the alleyway on the left, is what is left of the wheel of the Innocents, the contraption that made it possible for children to be left at the hospital in complete anonymity: alerted by the sound of the bell, the sisters turned the wheel from the inside and took the foundling into their care.
The plaque banning children from being abandoned if the family could afford to keep them is still visible.
If you want to see these places, we recommend you disembark at the 'Pietà' stop of Venice public transport: the Hotel Metropole is right in front of the water bus pier!
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