“Isola di San Servolo”
Media: acrylic on board
Size: 102x 102 cm
It is not known when the island was first populated, however, in the 8th century a group of Benedictine monks went there to find a church dedicated to Saint Christopher. The Benedictines built a new church and monastery dedicated to San Servolo, martyr of Trieste, and stayed there until c. 1200. The monastery then passed into the hands of nuns fleeing Malamocco, living on funds donated by Doge Zianni. At the beginning of the 1600s, the Benedictine nuns requested to leave the island because of the crumbling and uninhabitable buildings, when they were transferred to an old Jesuit convent.
In 1648 the Ottomans occupied Candia in Crete and about 200 nuns from various religious orders fled and were offered shelter on the island by The Serenissima. In 1725 the island, by now abandoned by the nuns, was donated to the healing order of Saint John of God, and a new church, monastery and hospital were built, all designed by Giovanni Scalfarotto, uncle of Temanza, an architect well known for his work in the neo classical period. It became a psychiatric hospital, initially only for the nobility. In 1797 it became open to all and from 1873 it was reserved only for men. Women were transferred to Saint Clemente. Now the psychiatric hospital is closed and the island is home to Venice International University and conference centre.