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Ospedale di Bonifazio (Questura)

World's First Psychiatric Hospital

Ospadale Bonifacio

The Ospedale di Bonifazio was founded in 1377 by the successful condotierre Bonifazio Lupi, who donated such an immense sum to the founding of a hospital (26,000 florins) that even though it was officially dedicated to St John the Baptist it was always known as Bonifazio's.

In the 18th century, it underwent a major renovation, with the addition of the current portico. Under Vincente Chiarugi, it became the first psychiatric hospital in the world, the first to treat mental illness as a pathology rather than a source of shame. Even so, for centuries the expression'Going to Bonifazio' meant 'going insane.' In the late 19th century, the mentally ill were relocated to the San Salvi hospital, while in 1924, the remaining patients were replaced by the police: it's now the Questura (police headquarters).

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Via San Gallo 83

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Image by Sailko, GNU Free Documentation License