The Mental Asylum Museum of San Servolo

Museo Manicomio San Servolo"Secluded folly" is the name with which the museum was inaugurated on May the 20th 2006 on the Island of St Servolo, where equipment from the mental asylum, on the island from the 1700s till 1978, are displayed to public.  It aims to show just how segregated and isolated the asylum was by exhibiting specific finds, notes, explicative panels.

The museum is divided into different sections:

  • Laboratory (histological section, psycho-physiologic section, chemistry section, scientific glassware)
  • Ambulatory
  • Didactic products
  • Sickness therapies (electro-convulsive, electrical, physical and moral, pharmacological)
  • Straitjackets
  • The sick 
  • Lodgings
  • Asylum’s historical pharmacy, with furniture and 1800s vases
  • Anatomical room

An introductory historical section was also established, where the island’s and its hospital’s history will be presented, and a small room with pictures and multimedia materials from its ‘asylum’ period.

The displayed finds aim at showing the development of the discipline and the psychiatric structures from the first commitment on St Servolo, in 1725, till the closing of the hospital.  Immobilization equipment and 1800s medicines are exhibited, besides electro-therapy and analysis equipment, handmade products for the bedridden  to occupational therapy (working as a way to cure), the piano used for music therapy, medical and administrative documents, a reconstruction of the anatomical room with brains and skulls, and many pictures of the sick, the asylum and its pavilions. 
The museum is supervised by Fondazione San Servolo IRSESC.
The scientific and historic aspects are supervised by professors Diego Fontanari and Mario Galzigna, whilst architect Barbara Accordi has supervised the exhibition itself.

Useful Information:

Mental Asylum Museum
Isola di San Servolo 30133 - Venezia
Telephone: 041 2765451/2 - 041 5267871 - 041 5264909
Fax: 041 2765460 - 041 2761999

Actv transport lines: number 20 boat stop San Servolo
From the first of June the museum is included in the route of guided tours of the whole island.  Visits to the museum are free and possible by contacting San Servolo Servizi (every day from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m,  Fridays from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.) at: 041 5240119, or by internet on site

Till the 10th of September, 2006, the Island may be reached from both San Zaccaria and the Lido Actv (boat stop: ex-casinò) Boat line 20. 


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