Ospedale "Luigi Spolverini"

The hospital “Luigi Spolverini” of Ariccia (Via delle Cerquette 2) was built in 1909 as desire of 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 Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli of Bologna and Swedish health structures combined with a Liberty Style.1

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


The hospital began to fully function only after World War I, when Alberto Bergamini, the editor in chief of “Giornale d’Italia”, started a fundraising campaign in order to build a facility dedicated to cure children with tuberculosis. The pre-existent structure became also a sanatorium, and took the name of "Istituto Ortopedico e Sanatorio di Ariccia". 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, and changed its name in "Istituto Ortopedico Principe di Napoli". In 1935 the Ministry of the Interior 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. The hospital became an important centre for the cure of poliomyelitic patients with the most avant-garde techniques.2

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


Hydrokinetic therapy in the old swimming pool.


After Italy joined 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 there were more than 150 bed places available. It was famous for the physical recover’s equipment and physiotherapeutic sector and 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.


From 1964 the hospital was named “Istituto Ortopedico Pediatrico Luigi Spolverini” and became one of the most important national orthopaedic, physiatric 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 still treats post-poliomyelitis syndrome.

The hospital Luigi Spolverini nowadays.

  • Photos and main text by Ludovica Esposito ti.supmacla|otisopse.acivodul#| and Eleonora Pioppini ti.supmacla|inippoip.aronoele#| (November 2017)


- Nunzio Spina, "L’Istituto ortopedico di Ariccia per l'assistenza ai poliomielitici: opera di carità e di progresso", Giornale Italiano di Ortopedia e Traumatologia, Agosto 2011, vol. 37, pp. 215-224

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