Luigi Spolverini's Hospital

The hospital “Luigi Spolverini” of Ariccia (Via delle Cerquette 2) was built in 1909 by the will of the Princess Antonietta Chigi Albani after the death of her son Agostino Chigi during the Battle of Adua in 1896. The Princess convinced her family to donate the area around the palace in order to found an orthopedic institute “a sollievo dell’infanzia sofferente” (meant to help suffering infants) . The building was designed by the architect Carlo Lepri, who took inspiration from the institute Rizzoli of Bologna (ricorda link) and Swedish health structures combined with a Liberty Style.1

The hospital Luigi Spolverini in 1919 with its characteristic Liberty facade.

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The hospital begin to fully function only after World War I, when Alberto Bergamini, the editor in chief of “Giornale d’Italia”, started a fundraising campaign(where Vittorio Emanuele III participated) in order to build a facility dedicated to cure children with tuberculosis and the pre-existent structure became a sanatorium as well. Starting from the 1930s the hospital was used mainly as a cure centre for poliomyelitis, a disease largely diffused in infants. The structure was refurbished thanks to Benito Mussolini’s subsidies, whose daughter was later hospitalized for polio. In 1935 the “Ministero Degli Interni” entrusted the management of the institute to Doctor Luigi Spolverini (“Clinica Pediatrica dell’Università di Roma”’s director), famous for his studies on poliomyelitis both in America and in Europe, that made the hospital an important centre for the cure of polio’s patients with the most avant-garde techniques.2

The hospital in the 1930s after the fundraising campaign and the refurbishment.

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Hydrokinetic therapy in the old swimming pool.

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After Italy joined in World War II, the hospital was heavily damaged by bombing and had to be renovated. It was expanded and at the end of the 1950s the bed places available were more than 150. It was famous not only for the physical recover’s equipment and physiotherapeutic sector but also for the effort made by the Sisters “Pie Madri della Nigrizia” in order to socially reintegrate the patient after the illness.3

Pie Madri della Nigrizia helping infant patients.

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From 1964 the hospital was named “Istituto Ortopedico Pediatrico Luigi Spolverini” and became one of the most important national orthopaedic, physiatrist and paediatric centres; when poliomyelitis disappeared the institute was renamed in “Istituto Fisiatrico Ortopedico Luigi Spolverini” and focused mainly on patients that had issues with the musculoskeletal system.4
Nowadays the hospital keeps his double name and it’s an important centre for physical rehabilitation and it still treats post-poliomyelitis syndrome.

  • Photos and main text by Ludovica Esposito ti.supmacla|otisopse.acivodul#| and Eleonora Pioppini ti.supmacla|inippoip.aronoele#| (November 2017)
  • The historical photos are treat by http://www.giot.it/fascicoli/2011/vol4-2011/ARICCIA.pdf (Nunzio Spina, volume 37 pag. 217-218-220-222, Agosto 2011)

Bibliography

- http://www.giot.it/fascicoli/2011/vol4-2011/ARICCIA.pdf (Nunzio Spina,UO di Ortopedia e Traumatologia, ASUR Marche, Zona territoriale 9, Macerata. volume 37 da pag. 215 a 224, Agosto 2011).

- Giuseppe Melloni, “Istituto chirurgico-ortopedico sanatorio “Giornale d’Italia” per bambini in Ariccia”. Indicazioni terapeutiche, metodi curativi e risultati clinici, anni 1915-1919


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