On the Zattere, past the house that Ruskin rented in Venice (now a hotel), the large white stone classical building adorned with two stone heads is the former Ospedale degli Incurabili, one of Venice’s four main hospitals, designed by Antonio da Ponte.
Built for victims of syphilis (an early gift from the New World along with tobacco and potatoes), it had a girls’ orphanage added in the late 16th century, which became, like La Pietà, an important conservatory, famous for its choir. Sansovino added an oval church for its concerts, but it was demolished by the Austrians in 1831.
The Incurabili was used as a children’s home until the 1990s, then in 2004 it was renovated to serve as the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, the school of fine arts founded in 1750. The move has freed up much needed exhibition space at the Galleria dell' Accademia.
Fondamenta Zattere ai Gesuati
Image by Axbay, Creative Commons License