The building, which has housed the Istituti Fisioterapici Ospedalieri since 2000, is in the EUR district of Rome (via E.Chianesi, 53). It was born from the union of Hospital San Gallicano and the Istituto Ospedaliero Regina Elena.
Front view of the new location
Originally, the building, which currently houses the IFO, was used as a hotel, but in 1983 it was being total abandoned. In the same year, that unknown and forsaken hotel in the area of Mostaccian was purchased by Don Luigi Maria Verzè at a bankruptcy auction. Ten years later it has become an example of one of the most technologically advanced hospitals in the whole Europe: the San Raffaele . The most envied and celebrated, but in some quarters of Rome the most hated one.1
San Raffaele's symbols
The inscription tells: "Salvator Fiume Fecit Alicuius M. Verzè Fieri Iussit"
At the entrance of the actual IRE there are still signs of this period of splendour. As a matter of fact, there are some symbols that recall the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan. For example, there is a marble megalith depicting angel Raphael telling Tobia how to cure his father's blindness. In front of it, the imposing statue of a nervous Tobia holding the fish whose gall will cure his father's disease.
The motto of Queen Elena's Hospital
In 1997, the San Raffaele Hospital in Mostacciano was ready. But this project went down to 1999 before even beginning: Verzè argued that, because of pressure from politicians and the financial circles of Rome, he was "forced to sell" the hospital "for a paltry sum” to the businessman Antonio Angelucci who, only a few months later, sold it to the Italian state, thus arousing public scandal. After this period of revolution for this building, in 1999 was decided to move here the old Regina Elena Hospital, which was looking for a new, more functional and larger location in order to satisfy the numerous requests of the patients. As a matter of fact, the old building was in the center of Rome and this made impossibile any kind of enlargement there.2
Queen Elena's memorial plaque
But, in the new location we are still able to find some (really just few) historical tracks remembering the beginning of this fascinating hospital.
The entrance of the new building currently houses the bust of the famous wife of King Vittorio Emanuele III, Queen Elena , in honour of whom the hospital is named. She is remembered by her grandson Vittorio Emanuele as the "Queen of Charity" in a letter published in March 2002. In the same document he encouraged people to remember this Queen of extraordinary humanity and to use her stamp for fundraising. He declared that he could not but be moved by the initiative of an additional tax in order to raise fund in support of breast cancer research.3
As a matter of fact, today, the Institute deals with etiology of cancer and any other diseases caused by it, research in the area of epidemiology, the neoplastic transformation and progression and experimental therapies. It also carries out applied research in biomolecular diagnostics. The Regina Elena’s Hospital is a member of the International Union “Contre le Cancer” (UICC), the Organisation of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC - Early ClinicaI Trial Group). It is also a center of reference for the World Health Organisation for Digestive Endoscopy and stomach cancer.
- Photos and main text by Anna Scarabosio moc.liamg|annaoisobaracs#| and Giulia Avola ti.oiligriv|alovaailuig#| (January 2016)
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- AAVV, I natali degli Istituti Fisioterapici Ospitalieri. 80 anni di ricerca e cura a Roma, Roma 2006
- Cristina Siccardi, "Elena. La regina mai dimenticata" , Paoline Editoriale Libri, Milano 1996
- S. Filippi, Don Verzè: "Così mi hanno costretto a vendere il San Raffaele di Roma", «Il Giornale» 25 agosto 2004, pp. 1-5
- Vittorio Emanuele III di Savoia, Messaggio di S.A.R. il principe Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, Ginevra 1 marzo 2002
- Anna Maria Fioretti, Viaggio nel mondo accademico e della ricerca del territorio italiano
- Official site of IFO
- Official site of San Raffaele's Hospital