Santa Maria della Scala
Frescoes and medical history at history Santa Maria della Scala
Founded in the 9th century, Santa Maria della Scala was one of Europe’s first hospitals. It was also one of the first hospitals anywhere to disinfect its equipment and only stopped taking in patients in the 1980s: the writer Italo Calvino died here in 1961. The early history of the hospital is illustrated in the 15th century frescoes decorating the walls of the Pilgrim’s Hall and there is a fascinating archaeological museum housed in the labyrinthine basement rooms.
By Nicky Swallow, AFAR Local Expert
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The frescoes of Quattrocento senese in the Pellegrinaio room of this Museum worth themselves a visit. From the Middle Ages untill the nineties of the last century it was hospital and a place for the reception of pilgrims and for works of charity. This huge hospital which seems a labyrinth was self-sufficient like a town. Thanks to these frescoes we are able to know the everyday life. It is an amazing experience.