Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WHERE TO LEAVE A JUNK BABY? - The Hospital of Innocents

Address: Piazza Santissima Annunziata 12, Florence
Bus: Lines 14 or 23A, stop at Santissima Annunziata

The first orphanage in Europe. And a secret game that invite you to go back to being a little child... 

Back to feel like a child and play with bees!

The Hospital of Innocents is the first orphanage in Europe and still today, in the tradition of childcare, houses two kindergartens, a game room and some offices of UNICEF. 

It is also called of Abandoned Child and the left side of its portico there is wheel connected by a cord to a bell. I like to think of it as a wooden cradle. And indeed, in the past, babies could be left into the wheel and by making it turn, the bell rang informing of the arrival of a new orphan. 
The fact was perfectly legal but evidently abandoning parents weren't proud of the abandonment and with this system they could get their anonymity. 

When I was a child, I attended this kindergarten but the weirdest thing was (and still is) just outside the Hospital, in the middle of the square there is an Equestrian Statue (portrays Federico de Medici). 

In the back of its marble base, there is a bronze plaque with many bees placed in a circle, all facing towards the center where there's, of course, the queen bee. The meaning of this plaque is not certain but the bee could symbolize the authority of the Grand Duchy. So this swarm is supposed to represent the state as a community, its organization and its hard work.

But, don't loose the fun part... Everything in this square invites us to go back to being a little child. And it is said that whoever is able to count the bees by just staring the eyes above the plaque, without touching it or indicate the bees with fingers, will see his wishes come true.  

Good luck to the child that is in you!

- CADAVERS ON DISPLAY - Museum La Specola
- A GOOD DEED FOR FLORENCE - VivaFirenze, bookings with heart   

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