At the beginning of the Via San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, on the right side of the street, you can see a church-like building. In reality, this is the Ospedale delle Donne.
Ospedale delle Donne Rome
The building has two entrances. The first one is on the Via Merulana, but is not always open. The main entrance is on the Via San Giovanni in Laterano, 155.
History and description
It is not known when exactly the building was constructed. What is however known is that the complex was enlarged in the early 13th century.
In 1655, under the architect Giovanni Antonio De Rossi, a major renovation took place. Due to lack of money, the architect had been instructed to use the already existing structure wherever possible.
After this reconstruction, the complex consisted of one long corridor with on both sides beds placed against the wall.
The façade, still following De Rossi’s design, was only completed in the 18th century.
Among other things, De Rossi designed an exterior portico and a staircase with low steps to be used by the pack animals bringing supplies to the complex.
In 1721 it was decided that the hospital could only be used by women. Men had to go to the Santo Spirito hospital.
In later renovations, intermediate walls were erected so that the building was divided into normal hospital rooms. More pavilions were built and the outdoor portico, which had become superfluous, was removed.
At present, the Ospedale delle Donne has long since ceased to be a “Hospital of Women.”