[…] The asylum of Nocera Inferiore needs to be considered primarily through the eye of the heart, and not just with the one of the mind, in order to be finally made worthy of the name of Hospital . The past will be able to be a warning for the future.1
The Ospedale Psichiatrico Consortile V.E.II is located in Nocera Inferiore (via Federico Ricco, 50). It was founded in 1882 by Federico Ricco, a professor of clinical-medicine of the University of Naples. This hospital was a clear answer to the Italian need of taking care of the people suffering from mental disease, due to the inadequacy of the Reale Casa dei matti, situated in Aversa. In fact, it is considered the first asylum in the modern sense in the Southern Italy, according to the dispositions of the psychiatrist Philippe Pinel.2
It could contain at the same time even more than one thousands of patients coming from all parts of Italy. Some of the most important doctors of the time worked in it. One of them, Marco Levi-Bianchini, always in contact with Sigmund Freud, modified the hospital according to the principles of Florence Nightingale and Philippe Pinel:
It is necessary that the insane people live in wide-ranging, well cleaned, bright and well-ventilated rooms. The patients must live in separated pavilions for an appropriate separation of the different diseases […]. The aspect of prison has to be reduced to the minimum and has not to burden on the mind of the patients.3
Federico Ricco was well aware of the necessity to create laboratories, in order to perform a modern scientific research inside the hospital. This need led to the construction of a cabinet of pathological anatomy and electrotherapy and of a laboratory of clinical chemistry and microscopy. The directors provided for the creation of an anthropological museum containing skulls, brains and organs of the dead patients. The presence of these laboratories gave the doctors the chance to realize original studies about the macro- and microscopic anatomy of the nervous system. The scientific laboratories found their essential support in the books, contained in the library, through which the doctors could deepen their knowledge and keep up themselves about the recent therapies4.
The same concept of foolish anticipates the time:
The prevention of his [ the patient ] personal freedom is related to the criterion of his hazard, which is not invariable. […] The foolish is above all a sufferer […], he has to be deprived of any fanatic and anachronistic injury […].5
Law N.180 of 1978, known as Basaglia Law, sanctioned the closure of the mental hospitals in Italy. The effective closure of the asylum of Nocera occurred in 1998, sanctioned by the approval n°1575 of December 12,1998. Much of the ex-asylum has been restored and now the buildings, that about a century ago housed thousands of insane people, are grouped in several areas with different functions :
- the area of the court of Nocera Inferiore
- the area of the city hall of Nocera Inferiore
- the area of the ASL, CeRPS Foundation, library and the museum.6
- Photos by Pasquale Maria Pecoraro moc.liamg|orarocep.airamelauqsap#| (December 2013), courtesy of Giuseppina Salomone and Antonio Pecoraro.
- Locate the item on this Google Map.
- Carmelo Ventra, L'Ospedale Psichiatrico Consortile V.E.II di Nocera Inferiore nel suo primo cinquantennio 1883-1932, I.T.E.A., Napoli 1934
- Giuseppina Salomone, Il Manicomio di Nocera Inferiore, Idelson-Gnocchi, Quarto (Na) 2004