August 27, 2010, Newsletter Issue #45: Spedale delgi Innocenti

Tip of the Week

The Spedale delgi Innocenti is a Florence attraction that can give you a remarkable glimpse into the past. Originally opening its doors in 1445, the Spedale delgi Innocentoi is Europe’s oldest foundling hospital.

One of the most memorable things about the hospital is a Lazy Susan that is in the wall near the arcade. In the early days of the orphanage unwanted babies were placed into the Lazy Susan and swiveled around. After a ring of the bell their mothers were often gone forever.

The colonnaded portico is something to take note of if you stop by Spedale delgi Innocenti. The portico was built sometimes between 1419 and 1426 and was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The portico is considered his first great achievement as a goldsmith and the beginning of his new Renaissance style. Many of the other buildings in the area have duplicated the portico making the piazza square one of the most magnificent squares in Italy.

Spedale delgi Innocenti is still used as a convent orphanage for children up to six years old as well as pregnant mothers. The building also houses three day nurseries and has a center for children and parents where children up to three years old can socialize with others

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