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Madness in San Servolo island

Veduta aerea dell'Isola di San ServoloMadness represents one of the most mysterious black holes in the impenetrable universe of the human mind. A black hole which reveals passages towards innumerable dimensions in which space and time no longer follow the rules of continuity and order, but, rather, obey a subterranean logic which possesses and dwells within the mad person.
Thus, it is not strange that madness is often linked to water, not only because of that peculiar rapid, elusive flow which characterizes every drop, but also because in ancient times, madmen were entrusted to sailors who were ordered to transport them to uninhabited places, far from society where the law and morality reigned. Unfortunately, the eternal link between mental illness and social margination, which was first discussed scientifically only in 1978, continued to grow. But in 1978, there were the psychiatric hospital reforms proposed by Franco Basaglia, a Venetian psychiatrist. And it isprecisely in Venice that the "Museum of the San Servolo Insane Asylum: Madness Shut In" has been inaugurated. This is a museum destined to become a unique historical place. Through diverse sectors, the Museum covers the history of the psychiatric museum which functioned on the island from 1725 to 1978. There, surrounded by water, physical and metaphysical companion to madness, Venice's historic psychiatric hospital was founded: the San Servolo Island Hospital, near the Island of San Clemente, to which females were taken. The museum is subdivided into various sections, where, by means of a truly extensive photographic documentation (there are 13,695 photos!), we can see how the hospital was organized and what was the type of care given.

By Venews May 2006(Tr. Maria Fasolo)
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