The Monumental Complex of Santo Spirito in Saxia

"The monumental complex of Santo Spirito in Saxia, which incorporates the Corsia Sistina (Sistine Ward), the Chiostri dei Frati, delle Monache and del Pozzo (Monks', Nuns' and Well Cloisters), and finally the Palazzo del Commendatore"1, is situated not far from the St.Peter's Basilica and the Vatican City, in Rome.

An old refuge centre for pilgrims "destroyed by fire and pillaging, was rebuilt by Pope Innocenzo III in 1198 who destined it to helping the sick as well as to the shelter of the poor and the proietti (babies abandoned by their mothers at birth).

The hospital, which was named Santo Spirito in Saxia and which still retains this name, was made up of a rectangular ward illuminated by small windows and was capable of housing 300 patients and 600 poor people. Pope Innocenzo III entrusted the management of the hospital to Guido, one of the Counts of Guillaume of Montpellier (Templar Knight, founder in 1170 of the Order of the Hospital Brotherhood and in 1174 of the hospital "Saint-Esprit") who, in a short time, transformed it into an exeplary centre of hospital modernization in Rome, Italy, Europe and the world. Following its example in fact, another subsidiary centres grew up and spread over the European continent. (…)

In succeeding centuries, despite a number of dramatic events including war, the Hospital of Santo Spirito, thanks to the costant interest shown towards it by the Popes, has survived until our times continuing its mission of assistance to the sick"2.

At the end of Nineteenth century, the hospital played an important role in the social and medical struggle against malaria fought by Giovanni Battista Grassi with his collaborators Amico Bignami and Giuseppe Bastianelli3.

The ancient wards were in use until the 1950s.

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Many memories of the hospital's secular history can still be traced in the ancient courtyards, porticoes and internal buildings.

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  • Photos by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (October 2008), Federica Cancelliere, Weina Qiu and Francesca Santoro (November 2016)

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Bibliography

- Pietro De Angelis, L'Ospedale di Santo Spirito in Saxia in Roma e nel mondo, Biblioteca Lancisiana, Roma 1966, pp. 63



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