The “Stories of Children” exhibition has been coordinated in five locations that are symbolic of the refuge given to abandoned children. There is the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence, the Real Casa dell’Annunziata in Naples, the Istituto Provinciale per l’infanzia Santa Maria della Pietà in Venice and the Complesso delle Stelline in Milan, whilst the location in Rome is yet to be determined.
Each of these institutes has always been a place of refuge for thousands of abandoned children, who were offered assistance and education. Over the centuries, many benefactors have donated assets and works of art to the institutes, so that they may provide for the needs of children and their future. The exhibition wishes to express, in each of these historical sites, not only the emotions of the children being taken in, but also the stories of the children and adults who still hope and dream for a more comfortable future.
VENICE, FROM 16/12/2017 TO 15/04/2018
Istituto Provinciale per l’infanzia Santa Maria della Pietà
Officially founded by the decree of the Senate of the Republic of Venice in 1346, the Ospedale della Pietà arise from the initiative of the Franciscan friar Petruccio d’Assisi who, in around 1335, decided to intervene on the widespread phenomenon concerning the treatment of illegitimate children, who were often left to die from starvation or hastily drowned in the canals.
Not having independent economic resources, the friar incessantly paced along the Venetian calli, begging with the cry of “pietà, pietà” (“mercy, mercy”), which will forever identify the historic hospital.
The Republic has always supported this institution with the proceeds from penal sanctions, with the earnings from ferries, from the stages of theatres and from the “stalls” on the Rialto, as well as thanks to the generous real estate legacies of nobles and ordinary citizens.
MILAN, AUTUMN OF 2018
Istituti Milanesi Martinitt e Stelline
The Museo Martinitt e Stelline manages the archives and cultural heritage of the Martinitt orphanage, created at the beginning of the 16th century, and of the Stelline orphanage that arose in the second half of the 16th century.
Inside the museum, the historical archives can be accessed as part of the Martinitt library, endowed with more than 20,000 volumes, and guarding the important historical-artistic and cultural patrimony of over 500 years of Milanese charity, in the form of pictorial portraits.
NAPLES, FROM 20/11/2016 TO 28/2/2017
Real Casa dell’Annunziata
The original complex included a church, a hospital, a convent, an orphanage and a gathering place for girls without a dowry. The Real Casa dell’Annunziata in Naples, still located today in the Forcella district in the historical centre of Naples, was built in 1304 at the behest of Nicolò and Jacopo Scondito, two Neapolitan noblemen who dedicated the work to the Annunciation of the Virgin. Queen Sancia of Majorca, the wife of Robert of Anjou, wanted to expand the building by adding the church and hospital, obtaining from the brothers the right of patronage over the whole complex. The change of ownership was ratified in 1343 by Cardinal Giovanni III Orsini, Archbishop of Naples.
FLORENCE, FROM 25/3/2017 TO 28/5/2107
Museo degli Innocenti
The exhibition was set up in the Salone Borghini of the Museo degli Innocenti.
The Museo degli Innocenti was the first secular institution in the world to deal exclusively with helping children. The important patrimony preserved since 1419, the year of the foundation of the Spedale, was restored and enhanced, offering a new museum in Florence dedicated to the history of one of its oldest and most innovative institutions.