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HomeNewsVaticanOne hundred years ago the 'Bambino Gesù' became the Pope's Hospital

One hundred years ago the ‘Bambino Gesù’ became the Pope’s Hospital

In 1869, Duchess and Duke Salviati founded the Bambino Gesù paediatric hospital. Their house in the centre of Rome and its 12 beds became the city’s first hospital dedicated to children.

Then, on 20 Feb 1924, the hospital was donated to the Holy See, making it “the Pope’s Hospital”, and a point of reference for the care of sick children in Rome and around the world. Exactly one hundred years have passed.

By this time, the hospital had already relocated to the ancient convent of Sant’Onofrio on the Janiculum Hill. Having moved in 1887, less than ten years after it was founded, the hospital stands there to this day, though it is expected to move again in 2030, to where the “Forlanini” hospital once stood.

The history of the hospital

Before the donation to the Holy See, 33,000 children had already been hospitalised at the Bambino Gesù. The hospital had already faced numerous emergencies, including the aftermath of the Avezzano earthquake in 1915, in which 420 children were admitted, and the Spanish flu epidemic during the Great War in 1918, during which 300 children were hospitalised.

A hub of excellence

The first Pope to visit was Pope John XXIII in 1958, followed by Paul VI in 1968, by John Paul II in 1979, by Benedict XVI in 2005 and by Pope Francis in 2017. The Bambino Gesù Hospital is now the largest pediatric polyclinic and research center in Europe and is linked to major international centers in the field.

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