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Santa Maria delle Penitenti

Former refuge for fallen women

Santa Maria delle Penitenti

Designed by Giorgio Massari in the early 1700s with Palladio's Le Zitelle as his model, this church with an unfinished façade is part of a large complex or ospizio designed to take in former prostitutes and other 'fallen women', with gardens, two cloisters and housing on either side. It survived the fall of the Republic, and eventually became an home for the elderly, until it was closed in 1995.

A major restoration has just been completed (2013) costing €12 million, to offer public services and hospice accommodation for the elderly. But don't count on them ever finishing the façade.

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Fondamenta de le Penitenti

vaporetto Tre Archi

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Didier Descouens, Creative Commons License