Piazza della Santissima Annunziata and the Spedale degli Innocenti
Located in the heart of the city life of Florence, in Piazza Santissima Annunziata, the Spedale degli Innocenti was the first orphanage in Europe. The Art of Silk, one of the richest Florentine guilds of the time, gave in the early fifteenth century the financial support to the realization of the “Spedale” intended to accommodate, care to protect abandoned and in difficulty children.
The Hospital formed immediately one of the Florentine records as part of civil institutions, and also for the architectural realized by Filippo Brunelleschi who created the model of the building with a charitable and welfare destination.
The uniqueness of this place is primarily related to its long history of hospitality, when from February 5, 1445 it hosted the first abandoned child, it started to take care of children and families in need. Mothers often left next to their childs letters of recognition or objects, often broken in half medals , that would allow, in better times, the reunion with their families. But the beauty of these environments is also linked to the name of some Italian artists who worked for the institution, including Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Luca della Robbia and Andrea della Robbia to whom we owe the beautiful terracotta that became a symbol of the Hospital.
Along Santissima Annunziata Square you enter therefore in a place that immediately evokes the Renaissance in Florence. The square culminates with the Basilica of SS. Annunziata, a veritable treasure chest of art and culture, which hostes a world rich in history and destination of pilgrimages and processions.
Even today, as it was then, Piazza Santissima Annunziata continues to be the heart of the city life of Florence through a series of celebrations of ancient festivals related to the flavors, traditions and knowledge of a rural culture, that are part of the history of our times.