Ospedale dei Pellegrini is located in Laterza, in the province of Taranto in Puglia. The position of the town, in the plateau of the Murge, has always privileged it: in a geologically particular area, Laterza has been, over the centuries, a place of transition in which many different cultures came into contact.1.
Laterza Historical Center
Frontage of Ospedale dei Pellegrini, Laterza
We only know for sure that: "May 20, 1740, not only the Hospital already existed in its efficiency, but the Rev. Don Giuseppe Domenico Cristella, by deed of the notary Agostino Renzi Laterza, left legacies, bed, as well as expenses of worship, medicines and food to the poors of the town"2.
Since the Middle Age, Laterza has been a refuge for all those pilgrims who travelled on foot for long distances and needed to rest and to be cared.3 All this justifies the presence of a hospital for pilgrims, certified in the middle of the sixteenth century. We don’t know exactly how long the hospital was active in Laterza; however, it continued to serve the sick poors and strangers for most of the nineteenth century.4
Main street of Ospedale dei Pellegrini, Laterza
Nowadays, the old hospital houses two homes and the only witness we have is the name of its street: "Via Ospedale".
The following picture was taken in the 50s by the photographer Felice Monopoli5
Ospedale dei Pellegrini in the 50s
- Main text by Vito Russo and Vito Antonio Quartulli (January 2016)
- Photos by Vito Russo @ (December 2015)
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- Raffaella Bongermino, La memoria ritrovata: Strutture e attività sanitarie a Laterza nei secoli XVI-XVII, Antonio Dellisanti Editore, Massafra (TA) 2007, pp.109.