Children's Hospital “Giovanni Di Cristina” is located in one of the oldest districts of Palermo (Via dei Benedettini, 5), precisely between the neighborhoods Albergheria and Ballarò.
The history of the hospital began in 1588 when Pier Battista Magliolo asked to the archbishop of Palermo to build a church in honour of the Madonna dell’Annunziata in which a convent was included. After many enlargement works the building was completed in 1660. Starting from 1866 the convent was used as a hospital for cholera patients; subsequently it was destined for the “incurables” (chronics, consumptives).
The Hospital located inside Palazzo Sclafani, one of the oldest palaces in Palermo, represented the first example of a public health care in the Kingdom of Sicily because it was responsible for coordination among all the hospitals in the city, including Children's Hospital.
The realisation of a hospital exclusively for children, completely independent from the great Hospital (the one in Palazzo Sclafani), was created in place of the convent in 1882 thanks to the support of a citizens committee held by Blasco Lanza Duca di San Carlo and also thanks to the fund-raising public benefits, to the donation of medical equipment, and a yearly income of nine thousand lire granted by the senator Ignazio Florio.
The activity of Children's Hospital therefore began on 23rd of December 1896, with the opening of the first two departments of surgery and general medicine. The paediatric clinic was opened in 1908 after the intervention of the professor Rocco Jemma, who later became the medical director of the department of general medicine.
In 1914 Giovanni Di Cristina became the paediatric clinic director and played a remarkable role in the improvement of the assistance quality.
Inside the Children's Hospital, as well as the specific activities of diagnosis and treatment, influential university lecturing and research including major studies have been developed, concerning dystrophy of the new-born, recognition of the state of the parents heterozygous thalassemia, discovery of pernicious anaemia of the new-born, infant purple and relevant studies on childhood tuberculosis and leishmaniasis.
The strictness of scientific research and the high standard of health services provided have enabled the Children's Hospital of Palermo to reach relevant national targets. With the development of the scientific discipline and the need to provide adequate solutions in terms of social response, Children's Hospital has increasingly seen quality and efficiency becoming as consistent as they are today in providing high levels of care services.
The convent after the enlargement works became the Children's Hospital (photo post 1908)
(The following old photos can be seen in the hospital hallways)
Children's Hospital (photo post 1918)
Children's Hospital nowadays
The library inside the hospital
- Photos and main text by Andrea Pilato moc.liamg|49otalip.aerdna#| and Silvia Albano moc.em|onabla.aivlis#| (novembre 2014)
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- Various Authors, Ospedale dei Bambini "Giovanni Di Cristina" di Palermo - 130° Anniversario della Fondazione, Fondazione Ospedale dei Bambini Palermo, Palermo 2012, pp. 94
- Various Authors, Bambini d'Italia - Come eravamo, come siamo:un viaggio nell'infanzia nel 150° anniversario dell'Unità d'Italia, Agenzia ANSA, Roma 2011, pp. 83