Hospital of the Innocents

The Spedale degli Innocenti, in Piazza Santissima Annunziata, was built in the first years of the 1400s as a home for orphans and children in difficult circumstances. It was the first institution of its kind in Europe and besides that, it was based on an initial design by Filippo Brunelleschi and can be considered the first fully Renaissance building.

Its forms are simple and light, typical of 15th century architectural language; actually, it was designed that way to keep costs down and to simplify the work at the construction site where labor was being used that was not, shall we say, particularly expert.

Even the materials — grey stone and white stucco — were preferred over more expensive alternatives because they were cheaper and more practical.

The resulting architectural solutions, however, were one of the major success stories in the history of art, becoming an absolute reference point for Florentine architecture in particular and Renaissance in general.

On the facade, the terracotta medallions of newborn babies between the round arches are the work of Andrea della Robbia. In the museum inside, you’ll find works by Botticelli and Michelangelo’s teacher, Ghirlandaio.

Created: 09 Aug 2013
Last update: 25 Jun 2023

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