The Spedale degli Innocenti: a fascinating location full of history


posted by on History & Culture, Visit Tuscany


If you are visiting Florence, there’s a place which is very well worth a visit: the Spedale degli Innocenti, an historical building located in Piazza Ss. Annunziata.

The Spedale degli Innocenti ©sailko

Originally a children’s orphanage, the building was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th century and it is probably the most ancient example of Renaissance architecture existing.
The façade is characterized by 9 arches separated by columns, at which top are located blue terracotta roundels by Andrea della Robbia, with a white baby designed in relief, in order to underline the function of the edifice.

One of the blue roundels by Andrea della Robbia

The building was known for a special rotating wheel, used until 1875 by poor people who wanted to abandon their babies anonymously, to be cared by the orphanage, not being them able to feed them.

The special rotating wheel used unti the 1875

Today, the building hosts a museum where you can admire Renaissance masterpieces by Della Robbia, Botticelli and Ghirlandaio.

Anyway, the Spedale degli Innocenti is not the only monument that you can appreciate in Piazza Ss. Annunziata.

The Loggia dei Servi

On the west side you can find the Loggia dei Servi, designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder and on the north side, the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, whose façade was built by Giovanni Battista Caccini in 1601.

The Basilica della Ss. Annunziata

In the middle of the square then, is located the equestrian statue of Ferdinand I of Tuscany, by the famous sculptor Giambologna.

The equestrian statue of Ferdinand I of Tuscany

Furthermore, walking just a few steps from here, you can easily reach absolutely “not to be missed” monuments as Florence Cathedral, the Accademia Gallery and San Marco Museum.

Book your private guided tour of Florence to discover this fascinating location or book a visit in the near Accademia Gallery!

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