"Europe's first orphanage." Ospedale Degli Innocenti Tip by leics
Ospedale Degli Innocenti, Florence: 3 reviews and 4 photos
In Piazza Della S.S. Annunziata is the orphanage of Spedale degli Innocenti (or, sometimes, Ospedale). This was the first orphanage in Europe, dating from 1445, and was mostly designed by Brunelleschi (and paid for by the silk-weavers' guild). The loggia across the entrance, which has nine arches, was one of Florence's earliest Renaissance creations.
It is worth noting that many of the earliest orphans were the children of slaves; Florence retained slavery until the fifteenth century.
Along the top of the loggia are blue and white 'tondi' of swaddled babies; they look very chubby, very healthy and very happy. I doubt the original orphans looked the same. The building, by the way, is still used as an orphanage.
It is possible to visit inside. Open Thurs - Tues, 8.30 to 2.
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