The Campo Italia Sanatorium in Messina (Strada Provinciale 44, contrada Annunziata) was built around 1920 by the Arciconfraternita of S. Maria dei Derelitti, commonly known as the Arciconfraternita S. Angelo dei Rossi (in relation to the place in which the Church of S. Angelo was born and the color of the jacket worn by the brethren), as a place of assistance to the people affected by the “white plague”, better known as tuberculosis, that in the early years of the '900 was spreading death across the country.
The Arciconfraternita S. Angelo dei Rossi was founded in 1547, by an ecclesiastical authority and, although it maintained a religious figure, those who were part of it, recognized their faith in the assistance actions of the needy both in a moral and in a material way. For those purposes, in fact, in July 1890 the Arciconfraternita dei Rossi was legally recognized under the State control.
The largest number of charity and assistance works of the Confraternity was made under the chairmanship of the Prof. Stefano Puglisi Allegra, thanks to whom it was recognized to the Confraternity a great contribution in the healthcare sector through the management of different healthcare facilities and in particular, since 1908, after the catastrophic earthquake during which also the Church of St. Angelo was destroyed, the Campo Italia Sanatorium.
The construction of this building was made thanks to the investments of the Confraternity’s assets and the contribution of the Archbishop Angelo Paino, who took charge of the construction of a pavilion in the Sanatorium entirely reserved to the accommodation of the Church.
The facility was able to accommodate a total of 200 beds. The decision to build the Sanatorium in Campo Italia was strategic for the treatment of tuberculosis. In fact the distance from the city center, the abundance of trees and wooded areas, the peace, the clean air and the beautiful scenery of the Straits that it was possible to observe, helped to improve the conditions of the sick people. In addition, the continuous exposure to sunlight of the building’s front area, consisting of a long colonnade, allowed to guarantee to the patients the widespread Heliotherapy of that time, whose benefits were useful for the rest and well-being of patients.
The importance given to the Campo Italia Sanatorium in Messina in the health sector is verifiable by the fact that approximately up to 1960 there was a great interest in its maintenance through requests for restoration and expansion of the pavilions and the structure itself, and through a financial proposal to sewing courses (for women) and printing courses (for men) for patients affected by tuberculosis (as it can be seen in the “Questions with written answers” submitted to the Minister of Home Affairs, the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Social Affairs of the time during the meetings held at the Chamber of Deputies in Messina, which took place in 1954 and 1955 and were presented by the Congressmen Giuseppe Schirò).
Nowadays the premises of the tubercolosario are for the most part abandoned. Only the back of the building was rebuilt with a cant, and used as the meeting place of the Solidarity Center F.A.R.O., a cooperative for recovering drug addicts. Also today, the business of printing is still carried on.
This is the beautiful scenery of the Straits that is possible to observe from the Sanatorium.
- Photos by Simona Ceratti ti.orebil|39ittarecomis#| (December 2013)
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- R.Battaglia, M. D'Angelo, S.Fedele, M. Lo.Curzio (a cura di), Messina negli anni Venti e Trenta: Una città meridionale tra stagnazione e fermenti culturali, Istituto di Studi Storici Gaetano Salvemini, Messina 1997, Vol. II, pp. 619-623