San Giacomo degli Incurabili

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Ospedale di San Giacomo degli Incurabili
Fiancata sud 2 Ospedale San Giacomo.jpg
Southern façade of the Hospital San Giacomo
LocationLazio, Italy, IT
FundingPublic hospital
Hospital typeGeneral
Emergency departmentYes
Beds170 (2008)

The hospital of San Giacomo in Augusta, also known as San Giacomo degli Incurabili is an historical building located in the city center of Rome.


Built for the first time in 1349 by the Colonna family for the will of the cardinal Pietro Colonna in honor of his uncle Giacomo Colonna, as stated in a memorial stone in one of the cortili. Leo X expressed in three apostolic letters between 1515 and 1516[1] the will to rebuild the hospital to help the pilgrims, the poor and especially the "incurables" not accepted from the other hospitals. Leo X mentioned in particular the fight against syphilis as a priority to be set on the hospital's activity.[2] That was a new illness that spread to Europe from the Americas at the end of 15th century and that was taken to Italy from the troups of the French king Charles VIII of France. In those same years, Girolamo Fracastoro, a pioneer of the modern pathology, proposed a cure for syphilis, the expensive Lignum vitae, that was soon offered to the patients of San Giacomo for free.[3] In fact, the Statuta of San Giacomo was towards receiving patients of all economic conditions of both sexes for free, even for this very expensive cure.[4]

The hospital was rebuilt in the second half of 16th century mainly by the activity of cardinal Antonio Maria Salviati, together with the Church San Giacomo in Augusta, ended in the year 1600. The hospital was starting to be funded by a little percentage from the public fundings, but for the major part from donations by privates: in the 16th century the major donations came from the Pope Paul IV, from cardinal Bartolomé de la Cueva y Toledo with the enormous expense of 80.000 scudi and cardinal Clemente d'Olera with his entire heritage.[5]

During the 16th century Camillus de Lellis was also active. After his conversion to christianity, he reformed the rules of the Hospital and established a religious-nurse system. Afer his death, he was considered Saint by the Catholics and protector of hospitality.[6]

In 1815, Pius VII set the new chair of Chirurgy of Università La Sapienza here. Its first director was the surgeon Giuseppe Sisco. At his death in 1830, Sisco donated to the hospital his books, his surgeon instruments and instituted a prize for students.[7]

In the mid-19th century the Pope Gregory XVI made some major rebuilding work on the hospital structure,[8] with the help of both public and personal economic funding. A number of donors enabled the Hospital to face the strong expenses of public health thanks to the properties they gave it during the centuries.

In the years following the Capture of Rome and the union of the City to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870, from 1896, the Hospital was owned by the Pio Istituto di Santo Spirito e Ospedali Riuniti di Roma, a new owner of all the public hospitals in Rome too.[9]

In the 20th century the hospital was still in full activity. At the end of the century, the building included the biggest Emergency department in the city center of Rome, that server an area of 400.000 residents and people who commute into the city center[10] - but also a large amount of tourists out of this amount should be taken in account.

In October 2008 was abruptly closed after 680 years of continuous activity in hospedality by a regional law issued in August 2008 where the president of region Lazio Piero Marrazzo was serving as Commissario ad acta. The region Lazio, the new owner of the palace after the city of Rome, is now discussing to open commercial activity in place of public hospitality.[11] The noblewoman Oliva Salviati, descendant of the founder, since 2008 claims to enforce the testament of his ancestor cardinal Anton Maria Salviati, who donated the building to the city under the condition of its use as a hospital: it followed a petition of 60.000 subscribers to keep active the hospital.[12]


  1. ^ Bonella, Fedeli Bernardini, p. 366.
  2. ^ Arrizabalaga, Henderson & French 1997, p. 170.
  3. ^ Henderson, 2006, pp. 98.
  4. ^ Morichini, pp. 95.
  5. ^ Moroni, pp. 271.
  6. ^ Morichini, pp. 80.
  7. ^ Morichini, pp. 82.
  8. ^ Morichini, pp. 80.
  9. ^ Oliviero Savini Nicci, Le spedalità romane, legislazione, giurisprudenza, pratica. Vol. 1. Società editrice del" Foro Italiano", 1936.
  10. ^ Sanità, Figliomeni: mozione per chiedere riapertura San Giacomo, 2 July 2015.
  11. ^ Romatoday: Ospedale San Giacomo, battaglia per la riapertura, 17 september 2018.
  12. ^ San Giacomo: il progetto dei residenti, Repubblica, 15 february 2013


  • Arrizabalaga, Jon; Henderson, John; French, Roger Kenneth (1997). The Great Pox: The French Disease in Renaissance Europe. Yale University Press.
  • Statuti del venerabile archiospidale di San Giacomo in Augusta nominato dell’Incurabili di Roma, Roma, 1659.
  • Stefano Ciccolini, Le nuove opere dell'archiospedale di S. Giacomo in Augusta: descritte, Tipografia dell Rev. Cam. Apostolica, 1864.
  • Carlo Luigi Morichini, Degl'istituti di pubblica carità ed istruzione primaria e delle prigioni in Roma, Volume 1, Marini, 1842 .
  • Lia Bonella, Franca Fedeli Bernardini, L'ospedale dei pazzi di Roma dai papi al '900. Volume II, Bari, Edizioni Dedalo, 1994.
  • Padre Sanzio Cicatelli, Vita del P. Camillo de Lellis, a cura di P. Piero Sannazzaro, Roma, Curia Generalizia Camilliani, 1980.
  • Enrico Fedele, L'Ospedale San Giacomo in Augusta tra storia, assistenza e cultura, in «Bollettino della scuola medica ospedaliera di Roma e della Regione Lazio», anno IV, numero 9, luglio/settembre 1998.
  • Fabio Robotti, Le medaglie pontificie dedicate agli ospedali nella Roma del Papa Re. L'Arciospedale di San Giacomo in Augusta detto anche degli Incurabili, in «Panorama numismatico» n. 260, aprile 2011.
  • Mario Massani, L'arcispedale di San Giacomo in Augusta dalle origini ai nostri giorni, Roma, Ed. Tipografia Poliglotta Vaticana, 1983.
  • Anna Lio, La chiesa di Santa Maria in Porta Paradisi ed il complesso Ospedaliero del San Giacomo, Roma, Ed. Palombi, 2000.
  • Padre Mario Vanti, San Giacomo degl'Incurabili di Roma nel Cinquecento - dalle Compagnie del Divin Amore a S. Camillo de Lellis, Roma, Tip. Rotatori, 1991.
  • Pietro De Angelis, L' arcispedale di San Giacomo in Augusta, Tipogr. Ed. Italia, 1955
  • Alessandra Cavaterra, L’ospedalità a Roma nell’età moderna: il caso del San Giacomo (1585-1605), Sanità, scienza e storia 2 (1986): 87-123.
  • M. Valli, San Giacomo degli incurabili di Roma nel '500, Roma, 1938.
  • John Henderson, The mal francese in sixteenth-century Rome: the ospedale di San Giacomo in Augusta and the "incurabili", (1998): 483-523., In: Sonnino, E. (ed.) Popolazione e società a Roma dal medioevo all'età contemporanea. Rome, Italy: Il Calamo, pp. 483–523. ISBN 9788886148498.
  • M. Heinz, Das Hospital S. Giacomo in Augusta in Rom: Peruzzi und Antonio da Sangallo i. G. Zum Hospitalbau der Hochrenaissance, in: Storia dell'arte, 1981, n. 41, p. 31-48
  • Angela Groppi, I conservatori della virtù: donne recluse nella Roma dei papi, Vol. 2. Laterza, 1994.
  • Gaetano Moroni, Ospedali di Roma in Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni, Vol. 49. Tipografia Emiliana, Venezia, 1848.
  • John Henderson, The mal francese in sixteenth-century Rome: the ospedale di San Giacomo in Augusta and the'incurabili, (1998): 483-523.
  • John Henderson, The Renaissance hospital: healing the body and healing the soul, Yale University Press, 2006.

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