The Istituto Ortopedico Toscano, one of the world leading institutions in the field of orthopedics and traumatology, was founded at the beginning of the XX century by the famous Tuscan surgeon Piero Palagi.
This building, called “Villa Santa Margherita” is situated in Florence (Viale Michelangiolo 41), along the “Viale dei Colli”, the panoramic road surrounding the southern side of Florence: an area of grat landscape value, rich in monumental complexes such as the basilica of San Miniato al Monte and the Forte di Belvedere.
Launched in 1923 under the direction of Piero Palagi, and coordinated by Leopoldo Giuntini, Athos Alessandri, Filippo Busatti and Rodolfo Gabrielli, the institute started its activity with 40 bed spaces, which doubled in 3-4 years. The official inauguration was on March 19, 1924 at the presence of the authorities who illustrated a sanitary program striving toward a “vast sanitary endeavor”. At the time of the inauguration the hospital was in full activity and in that year over four hundred patients were cured. Between 1926 and 1927 the dean of the University of Florence, Prof. Enrico Burci, promoted an agreement for the hospital as venue of the Clinica Ortopedica Universitaria.
In 1933 the original building - “Villa Santa Margherita” – was enlarged of two wings, in 1940 a center for poliomyelitis and spastic patients was opened, in 1947 the hospital had a bed capacity of 160 beds.
Prof. Palagi died March 18, 1947 and the hospital was named after him. The direction passed to Oscar Scaglietti thanks to whom in 1949 the IOT became the “Scuola di Specializzazione Ortopedica e Traumatologica”. An orthopedic ward was installed to create prostheses and devices, as well as a laboratory for chemical analyses, an anatomy and pathohistology ward, a rehabilitation gym and a library. Between 1948 and 1962 the institute gained great prestige becoming the venue of visits and meetings of scholars from all over the world.
In 1962 the university orthopedics course was transferred from Villa Santa Margherita in Viale Michelangelo, where it began, to the larger and more modern rooms of the CTO, “Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico”, in the university hospital center of Careggi, where it still resides.
- "Istituto Ortopedico Toscano (I.O.T.) Piero Palagi di Villa Santa Margherita di Firenze", 1995, Associazione San Giovanni di Dio.
- "Cinque anni di vita dell'Istituto Ortopedico Toscano Villa Santa Margherita", Firenze 1928.
- "Una nobile iniziativa benefica. L'Istituto Ortopedico Toscano "Villa Santa Margherita", "La Nazione", 19 marzo 1924, pag. 4.
- L. Bader, "Genesi ed evoluzione dell'ortopedia in Italia dalla chirurgia del Medioevo alla chirurgia ortopedica dei nostri giorni", Padova, 1962.
- Photos by moc.liamg|52mesrol#oraremeS ozneroL (november 2011)
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