Saint Leonard's Hospital

The Old Hospital of Treviso, Saint Leonard's Hospital (Riviera Garibaldi, 13/E), was born thanks to the work of the Brotherhood of Flagellants, whose presence in the city dates back to 1260, when the bishop of Treviso, Alberto, formed this religious group. In 1261 the first hospital was built in front of St. Martin's church, on the banks of river Sile and it grew on the basis of many donations given in his favor. In 1329 Mastino della Scala, grabbing Treviso, razed the hospital to the ground to build a fortified castle on Tarraglio. This street connects the city itself to the Venetian Laguna.

In 1332, thanks to a loan made by Gualpetrino from Coderta, a new hospital was built in St. Leonard’s area, which is located at the confluence of Cagnan’s river with the Sile, where there is Dante's bridge. The fate of Treviso's health care has been unraveled in this place for seven hundred years; the structure still exists today and it is used as a University.


Near Saint Leonard's complex there is a bridge called Dante's bridge (Ponte Dante). The bridge crosses the confluence of the Cagnan's river and the Sile. There is a Dante's quotation taken from The Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia): “Dove Sile e Cagnan s'accompagna” (Paradiso, IX, v.49).

Dante's bridge


The complex of St. Leonard 's Hospital or "Santa Maria dei Battutti", in its original form, consisted of a main body: the Church of Santa Croce (Saint Cross Church), the former Palazzo Bortolan (Bortolan's Palace) and the former Palazzo della Dogana (Palace Customs). It was built in Treviso’s port, at the confluence of the Sile and the Cagnan’s river. This port was really significant for the Serenissima as it represented a connecting node for commercial traffic in northern Europe.

The hospital complex changed its original destination after the Second World War and it became the new "Quartiere Latino" of Treviso, a place of intense cultural activity. The Fondazione Cassamarca bought and restructured the hospital complex.

The inner courtyard of the hospital


The old entrance of the hospital


After the Second World War, the hospital was in a dramatic situation due to the fact that St. Leonard's area was inespansibile, since it was located within the city, and in addition because it had been damaged during the war. As a result, in 1945, a partial transfer in a new site became necessary, so it was moved in the place where the new Ca' Foncello's Hospital will be born.

Today only a few architectural remains of the first ancient Saint Leonard's building are preserved.These date back to the first half of the fourteenth century.

Remains of the first ancient Saint Leonard's building


Map of remains

1, 2, 3, 4 Plinths of a probable arcade on the outside of the building;
5 Perimeter wall of arcade;
6, 7, 8 Large rectangular hospital's hall on the ground floor, probably used as a warehouse.

  • Photos by Elisa Zanatta moc.liamg|01attanazasile#| (January 2014)

Related items:


- Cagnin Giampaolo, D'Andrea David, Gasparini Danilo, Santa Maria dei Battuti di Treviso. L'ospedal Grando, Terra Ferma Edizioni, Vicenza 2001, secc. XIII-XX vol. 1-3, pp. 205-230.

- Lino Cascioli, “Ospedale- L’assistenza ospedaliera in Italia dalle origini al 1940”, Ospedale Santa Maria dei Battuti di Treviso, Il Parnaso editore, Roma 1986, vol. I, pp. 127-129.

- Azienda ULSS 9 di Treviso, “L’ospedale grando di Treviso o ospedale dei Battuti”, Sotto le insegne dei battuti…., Grafiche Antiga S.p.A editore 2005, vol. I, pp. 5-10.

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