The origins of the Complex date back to 727 AD, when the king of the Saxons INA established the "Schola Saxonum" to give hospitality to the pilgrims headed to the Tomb of the Apostle Peter. It was erected on the area formerly occupied by the "Horti" of Agrippina Maior (14 BC - 33 AD), imperial buildings, large and sumptuous gardens extending from Gianicolo Hill along the right bank of the Tiber. In some rooms below the ancient hospital, remains of opus reticulatum, mosaic floors, sculptures and frescoes are still visible.
Considered one of most ancient hospitals in Europe, the Santo Spirito in Sassia was built to take care of the poor, the sick persons and the abandoned infants, as the Wheel of Exposed placed outside the building still testifies.
Restored and enlarged over the centuries, the Complex is composed of the Corsia Sistina (divided into Sala Baglivi and Sala Lancisi sections), the Cloisters of the Friars, the Nuns and the Zitelle (or "Chiostro del Pozzo"), and then Palazzo del Commendatore (a sixteenth-century extension), by the architect Giovanni Lippi.
The Palace, built around an elegant quadrangular courtyard, is adorned with a 17th-century fountain and a 16th-century clock and houses the ancient Spezieria, where numerous pharmaceutical researches were conducted and where the medicinal herbs were crushed, as testified, today, by the collections of ancient vases and mortars.
In the following centuries, Santo Spirito hospital further expanded with the construction of Sala ospedaliera Alessandrina, now home to Museo di Storia dell’Arte Sanitaria, the Historic Museum of Healthcare Art.
Inside the monumental complex, several important collections are held: about 400 pieces, including ceramics and pharmaceutical glasses, tapestries, sculptures and reliefs; about 300 paintings, drawings and prints, numerous frescoes, grotesques and other wall paintings; 20,000 printed volumes of which about 60 incunabula, 2,000 from the 16th century and 374 precious manuscripts from different periods, 2 codes written on parchment from Avicenna's writings and the most famous Liber Fraternitatis Sancti Spiritus; two globes by Vincenzo Coronelli (a terrestrial globe and a celestial globe from 1600); two brass armillary spheres and a diopter used in topographic surveying to determine and trace the visuals, unique testimonies of Roman scientific culture in the modern age.
Closed for restoration works.
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