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Ospedale al Mare (in english)

Ospedale al Mare (in english)

As I normally write only in polish, this time will be different, because the topic is so interesting, that I’ve decided to share it also in English.

Venice is beautiful. Everyone knows that. It’s also full of tourists, which makes me want to go somewhere else. But where? I would have never thought about Lido – the small island where Venetians usually go to lay down on the beach. That’s not my type of exploring new places, so Lido wasn’t on my list.

But just before our trip to Venice I had found out about Ospedale al Mare in Lido – the old hospital for kids with tuberculosis. What does make it so interesting? It’s abandoned. The hospital gives the impression that people have left in a hurry, leaving everything behind. Such an apocalyptic landscape. What happened? Why? I couldn’t have stopped asking those questions, so had to go there.

Ospedale al Mare was opened in 1914as a hospital for kids with tuberculosis. 8 years later it was open for people of all ages. It worked really good, but not for long. In 70’s the hospital started to deteriorate and when the new hospital was built in Mestre, the one in Lido has been forgotten. In 2003 it was closed due to bad conditions.

And that was the moment, when something weird happened, which I can’t explain.

Hospital staff just walked out from the buildings like they were supposed to come back the next day as nothing has ever happened. All the medical equipment, computers, syringes, lab samples and medical documentation were left in the hospital. How come? Why nobody took it, cleaned it up? Walking those empty corridors, I was thrilled and intrigued at the same time. 10 years after the hospital closure you can still find documents, x-rays or lab samples in the buildings.

Media was interested in the topic, but the controversy didn’t last long. After 10 years you can still find documents, x-ray or lab samples in the buildings. I spoke with the people who are interested in this topic, trying to find the answer to my question: why they have left it all behind? They think the reason is lack of anyone’s responsibility for cleaning the hospital after it was closed. Jeff from Fictional Cities briefly, but accurately summed it up: well I suppose you could say 'that’s Italy’. Which might sound a bit racist but can you imagine such a thing happening in, say, Germany? No, I can’t imagine.

This, however, is not the only controversy over the hospital. Philanthropist, dr Mario Marinoni before he died, in the early 20’s, has built a theatre in the Ospedale al Mare and gave it for patients and citizens of Lido. Teatro Marinoni stopped working in the 70’s. In 2011 few people created a group, that wants to give a new life for the theatre, so the citizens could again have some culture there, as it was originally designed for. Some of them are occupying theatre. They are organizing events there, trying to find some support. The thing is, the city of Venice has sold the hospital to a developer for 94 mln euro, who will probably make a luxury hotel complex there. As the protesters believe, the city should have not done it, because it’s against the will od dr Marinoni and it’s violating his bequest (more about the committee: So what will happen with the theatre and whole abandoned hospital? We can only guess…

Wandering between crumbling walls, destroyed computers and medical devices, looking at memos pinned to a board in former reception, seeing old bed linen and even toilet paper in the ruined toilet made me think about the past and the future of Ospedale al Mare. Tragic past of the hospital is known, but what will happen to those nice buildings in the next years? I see it as a cultural place full of residents of Lido, Venice and tourists. But that’s my vision, not the reality. The reality paints a gloomy picture of this pretty, old hospital located at the seaside.

You can find more about the topic also here:,

See the pictures from Ospedale al Mare here.

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