Girifalco's Asylum is located 47 km away from Catanzaro; in 1100s Ruggero I D'Altavilla built a magnificent castle near San Vito sul Jonio and in Cirocari a church for the Carmelites. Around 1522 A.C. they amplified the building and established a theology school.
In 1878 A.C. the district of San Vito converted the already abandoned monastery into a provincial asylum.
Initially, the size of the building were relatively humble ; that's why in the initial inspections it dindn't result habitable because it didn't satisfy the minimum requirements for a provincial asylum to guarantee 100 seats. However, the building evolved his structure during times past: new seats,a cloister, new garden spots, a cinema, chapels bar and a refectory were added.
At the start of the XXth century there was no partition between males and females and it lacked of the simplest safety measures; thanks to Dario Mariagliano and Francesco Prestifini, the asylum started to acquire a more professional aspect, not only for the architectonic perspective but also for the organizational one, prepairing an always more careful welcome to the new guests and giving life to what will become the clinical briefcase called during the time "nosological chart".
Regarding the procedure and the habits about the cure and custody of the patients, we don't have many details.
We know that apart from normal procedure of cure, new methodics were used such as manual works to rehabilitate them from insanity.
In 1978, the Basaglia law imposed the closure of all the italian asylums, Girifalco's included; it was turned into a public institute for mental health, which is still today in function.
A picture portraying the main entrance of the asylum.
A glimpse to the cloister built by the Carmelitans during the very first years of the XIIth century.
Chief medical officer and his staff in the 1957.
One of the patients retracted while in pseudofetal position originated from psychopathological involution.
1920s: some women are tested during the clinical treatment.
This chapel was built by the Carmelites and is one of the last places to remain intact into the building.
Main text by Marco Virone and Domenico Iaria
Photos by Domenico Iaria
Locate this item on Google Maps
"La storia dell'ospedale di Girifalco" di Domenico Marcello