B) THE HISTORY
Between the end of the XV and the begin of the XVI century hospitals, that were simple refuges, become to be transformed to places for treatment, whith the purpose to recover the sick persons and return them to the normal life; new figures arose as the “phisici” [physicians], i.e. the doctors whose duty was to understand the causes of illness and to find the cures, and the “chirurgi” [lit.: surgeries] that phisically acted on the patients. The Fatebenefratelli became part of this hospital evolution and grew.
The hospital gradually estended acquiring and renting some nearby small houses lived in by tanners and fishers. In order to increase room the St. Giovanni Calibita church itself was reduced from three naves, still visible in the Bufalini map dated 1551 (pict.B1), to the present single nave: in particular the left aisle became the entrance corridor to the complex.
In 1656, during the serious pestilence that happened in Rome, it was stated to keep the hospital for the plague sick people to take advantage from the natural isolation guaranteed by the island itself: on june 18th the whole island was evacuated and assigned as a lazaret for the infected people (pict.B2). The Fatebenefratelli not involved in sick people assistance were moved to St.Maria della Sanità, at Viminale, and the Franciscans of St.Bartholomew church to the Aracoeli monastery; the other inabitants of the island were evicted and compensated with a poor indemnity. The bridges, access ways to the island, were provided with double gates, as visible in the map in pict.B3 from the Chigi Codex. The hospital was assigned to men hospitalization and the Caetani tower and the nearby houses to women. On october 18th an ordinance decreed the end of the emergency and allowed the owners to come back to their houses in the island.
The fig.B4 shows the hospital as it looked in 1676 in the Rome map by Falda.
In 1700 the hospital was restored by Carapecchia: on that occasion it was completed the reorganization of the Assunta Hall, the first modern hospital ward with 50 beds (see sect.C); in the Nolli map dated 1748 (see pict.B5) the St.Giovanni Calibita church is indicated with number 1093 and the hospital ward with the 1094. With far-sighted policy and uncommon in that times it was stated the principle that every sick person should have a his own bed and the hospital was organized in departments taking into account the various pathologies.
In the Brogliardo [property register] of the Rome Catasto Urbano [Land Register] (pict.B6) (the Register was activated in 1824 and updated up to 1871) the hospital is indicated at the position 35 of the del Ripa District as property of the Padri Bonfratelli [Bonfratelli Fathers], and identified with the house numbers 38 of the St. Bartholomew Island [i.e. Tiber Island] (3 stories) and 60 of Via delle Mole [Mills Street] (3 stories in the east part, without house number, and 2 stories at house number 60).
To the same Fathers, at the position 35 ½, it is assigned the property of the St.Giovanni Calibita church, with the "Porteria" [the main entrance to the complex] at the house number 39 of the Island.
In 1865, thanks to the legacy of Francesco Amici, dead in 1858, the architect Azzurri realized a modern ward for men (pict.B7). The old Amici Hall area corresponds to the present 2nd floor impatients ward on Trastevere side.
In 1873, three years after the annexation of Rome to the Italy kingdom, it was extended to Rome the subversive law establishing the confiscation of the real estate belonging to the ecclesiasic board, according to which both the hospital and the pharmacy will be allotted to Rome Town Council. In 1887 the pharmacy was rent out to the civil association of Fatebenefratelli and at last in 1892, thanks also to the many acquaintances of Bro. Orsenigo, the dentist of the hospital celebrated in all the town, the Fatebenefratelli finally obtained to redeem the pharmacy and the hospital paying in a huge sum of money.
In 1930 the Fatebenefratelli, with a contribution by the Vatican, bought all the buildings at the west side of the island that, after many polemics, were demolished together the hospital annexes; in 1934 the rebuilding of the hospital was completed according to the project of Cesare Bazzani, that kept the façade toward St.Bartholomew square.
In 1972 the hospital officially get the name of St.Giovanni Calibita Fatebenefratelli, from the name of the church that constituted its original nucleus and is still making part of it, and was classified as Zone General Hospital. Perfectly adequate to the nowadays needs, a present the hospital consists of 420 beds and new well equipped departments. The Assunta Hall, at present rearranged as Congress Hall, accomodates important international meetings and congresses.
The hospital has always been part of the Rome events: it has been the main hospitalization place for the clashes in 1849 during the unsuccessful Roman Republic, in 1870 when Rome was conquered by the Piedmontese army and during the Nazi occupation in 1944 when also many Jews were recovered and hidden there. Finally in 1982 there were treated the people injured by the attack to the nearby Synagogue.