San Martino Leprosy Hospital, Italy
San Martino Leprosy Hospital, located in Genoa, was initially established as a home for persons with leprosy in 1150. It moved to a new location, becoming a leprosy hospital around 1860. Throughout its existence, residents wrote letters to Popes and archbishops, complaining about living conditions. During the second world war, between November 1943 and April 1945, a group of persons working with the local church to save Jewish citizens of Genoa, used the facility to hide these citizens from Nazi officers. While some of the persons involved in this initiative were caught and killed, the German forces never came inside the hospital. In the 1980s the leprosy hospital became part of a nearby general hospital. During the 1990s there was an attempt to shift the residents to another building outside the hospital; however, the residents blocked the road in protest, so plans to move were abandoned. At this time there are no permanent residents in the facility.
Information on this site has been extracted from a presentation by Sunil Deepak, MD.
photo: One of the huts near San Martino Hospital, built by people who had leprosy who had been treated at the facility. Built at the end of the 19th or beginning of the 10th century, they were in use until the 1960s. These huts have been maintained in the original state.
photo by Sunil Deepak