The old "Manicomio Lorenzo Mandalari" has been the main important psychiatric hospital in Messina until its closure in 1998. It has been defined "The greatest mental hospital in the nineteenth-century Sicily".
The purchase of the land dates back to around 1890. It was bought by a physician and entrepreneur from Calabria, Lorenzo Mandalari. With joyful intuition he tried to make up for the shortcomings of public assistance for the mentally ill (who in those days were transferred to Palermo, to the only mental hospital in Sicily, or to other regions). He proposed the idea of founding a "private asylum," which could retract the mentally ill in Messina from other italian asylums in which they were interned. After long negotiations, the Province gave funds for the opening of the asylum.
Since the beginning of '900 and the rest of the century, the asylum has accommodated a large number of patients, also from other cities, most from Eastern Sicily (Caltanissetta, Ragusa, Syracuse etc.) and especially during First World War, often causing overcrowding and problems related to it, such as poor hygiene.
The psychiatric hospital miraculously survived to the earthquake that struck Messina in 1908. In the 80's an accidental fire burned down a large part of the archives, where among other things there were contained numerous patient's file.
Nowadays the buildings of the asylum are used as administrative offices and departments of the ASP rehabilitation of Messina.
The original project of the building is also carved into a marbly parchment, held by Lorenzo Mandalari.
In front of the building, a bronze statue can be found, celebrating infant neuropsychiatry.
- Photos by Ettore Distefano ti.liamtoh|onafetsid_otte#| (January 2013)
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