Old psychiatric hospital "Leonardo Bianchi"


The old psychiatric hospital Leonardo Bianchi is located on the Capodichino hill, in the north-east of Naples (Via Calata Capodichino, 230), 85 mt above the sea, extended on a 220.000 square meters area delimited by the “Amicizia” district, by the Capodichino airport and by via Calata Capodichino, where the principal entrance is.


The hospital's surrounding wall


Hospital Entrance


Between 1883 and 1884 it was decided to provide Naples with a mental hospital with separate wings. The purchase of the structures and lands in Capodichino was concluded in 1897, but the occupation started only in 1909. In 1927 the provincial administration named the psychiatric hospital of Capodichino after Leonardo Bianchi, who strongly wanted it.1


Leonardo Bianchi's bust in the principal wing

In 1930, during the Michele Sciuti direction, there were 1609 patients. In those years four wings were added to the previous 29. In 20 years the new hospital was provided of a scientific library and a library for patients.2 There were installed lavatory for food chemistry research, clinic chemistry, and pathological anatomy. During Michele Sciuti direction ills worked in the cobblery, in a broomcorn lab, in a typography, and in a bookbindery, in a carpentry, in a bakery, and in the agrarian land.3


one of the hospital's covered passages

Since May of 1937, the prefecture communicated the war ministry’s decision to evacuate patients from hospitals and mental hospitals for anti-aircraft protection. Overall 717 men and 766 women were transferred.

The war outbreak resulted in a sanitary and assistance personnel reduction, and in an alimentary and medical goods shortage. The structure suffered frequent enemies raids. The bombardment in the 30th of May 1943 caused serious damages. In the 8th of October 1943 anglo-american troops got in the hospital and occupied the wing “Principe di Piemonte”, the area in front of the structure, the boulevards and the lands around it until the 11th of September 1946.4

In the early ’50 the situation came back to normal, a new wing was activated, the IX section (men side)and the hospital reached his actual size.

Since 1950 the overcrowding problems were solved thanks to the foundation of new psychiatric institutes, and the hospital “Leonardo Bianchi” was provided new scientific equipment for the electroshock therapy and electroencephalography. There were observation and treatment sections for acute chronic patients, geriatric sections and isolation sections.5


the stairs' security net, it was placed there to prevent patients suicides


windows' grating

The hospital was active until the law 180 enactment, also known as the Basaglia law. In 1978 the complex process of patients’ discharge started. In that period a part of the hospital became the “Capodichino residence” a group home experiment. The 21st of November 2002 the last patient was discharged, and also the women’s second section closed.

After years of abandon, a part of the old psychiatric hospital was assigned to the ASL Napoli 1. In 2016 the sanitary archival pole in the Bianchi hospital was suppressed, and the management of the structure with its library and its medical records was entrusted to the ASL structure “goods of sanitary and historical interest”. In the 8th March according to the regional committee resolution n. 91 the Neapolitan ASL’ artistic and historical goods management activities were entrusted to the association “il faro di Ippocrate”.

Part of the old hospital is still assigned to the Asl Napoli 1, but a bigger part has fallen into disuse and is now inaccessible because of the abandon in the last years.


There were 33 buildings with large covered passages on a 78.000 square meters area: in the central area, there were communal services, the scientific library, and the archivistic pole, at its sides, there were the recovery wings, on the left for women, on the right for men. When it was built, there were six sections for each side, that were further from the principal wing based on the patients’ dangerousness, respectively: the semi-disturbed, the disturbed, the deranged, the filthy, the dangerous and the very dangerous.


one of the corridors


women sections, now an interdicted area

  • Photos and main text by moc.liamg|00ittepatrebor#itteP atreboR and ti.orebil|gat.aissela#aletalailgaT aisselA (December 2018)

Related items:


  • Candida Carrino e Raffaele Di Costanzo (a cura di), Archivio dell’Ospedale psichiatrico di Napoli “Leonardo Bianchi”, Inventario, 2003, pp.198
  • G. Villone e M. Sessa (a cura di), Folia/Follia. Il patrimonio culturale dell'ex ospedale psichiatrico "Leonardo Bianchi" di Napoli, Gaia, Salerno 2010, pp.197
  • SIUSA: Ospedale psichiatrico Leonardo Bianchi di Napoli

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