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The infirmary of the Capuchin Friars was created in 1588 by Francesco Gonzaga, bishop of Cefalù from 1587 to 1593

The infirmary of the Capuchin Friars was created in 1588 by Francesco Gonzaga, bishop of Cefalù from 1587 to 1593

The infirmary of the Capuchin Friars was created in 1588 by Francesco Gonzaga, bishop of Cefalù from 1587 to 1593

It is an architectural complex consisting of two buildings built in different eras: the East body was elevated in the ‘500 overlooking the sea and the South body, orthogonal to this, was built in the’ 700. The Capuchin friars, whose house was in Gibilmanna, a mountain district of Cefalù, at the time of the Gonzaga already had an infirmary but “not very welcoming” for their condition. The new space identified by the Gonzaga is adjacent to the bastion of Capo Marchiafava and insists on a portion of the northern sector of the fortified wall of ancient Kephaloidion, which rests directly on the cliff, between the port of the Marina or “Pescara” and the door of Giudecca . The Gonzaga chooses as a place in which to build the infirmary the common courtyard to the two adjoining churches, dedicated one to St. John the Evangelist (near the Marchiafava bastion) and the other to the Madonna of Odigitria commonly called dell’Itria, open on the square of San Giovanni where there were also a well (of which today there is no trace left), a low body to the east (used as a warehouse close to the cliff) and some little houses

The bishop buys the little houses, closes the courtyard, obtains the concession of the well and permission to build in the courtyard of the churches. The contract is stipulated on January 5, 1588 at the notary Andrea Sardo di Cefalù.

The bishop buys the little houses, closes the courtyard, obtains the concession of the well and permission to build in the courtyard of the churches. The contract is stipulated on January 5, 1588 at the notary Andrea Sardo di Cefalù.

Having obtained the royal approval, on June 9, 1589, the bishop built a dormitory at his own expense above the already existing warehouses: it is the east body. Over time, the infirmary also became a guesthouse for the Capuchin Confreres and Regulars who did not own their own cenobio in Cefalù until, in 1732, Pope Clement XII forbid their use to strangers under penalty of excommunication, as can be seen from the marble plaque placed to the entrance hall.
Having obtained the royal approval, on June 9, 1589, the bishop built a dormitory at his own expense above the already existing warehouses: it is the east body. Over time, the infirmary also became a guesthouse for the Capuchin Confreres and Regulars who did not own their own cenobio in Cefalù until, in 1732, Pope Clement XII forbid their use to strangers under penalty of excommunication, as can be seen from the marble plaque placed to the entrance hall.
Having obtained the royal approval, on June 9, 1589, the bishop built a dormitory at his own expense above the already existing warehouses: it is the east body. Over time, the infirmary also became a guesthouse for the Capuchin Confreres and Regulars who did not own their own cenobio in Cefalù until, in 1732, Pope Clement XII forbid their use to strangers under penalty of excommunication, as can be seen from the marble plaque placed to the entrance hall.

Not enough for the infirmary needs with only one dormitory, Father Illuminato da Capizzi proposes the construction of another factory building. Starting in 1752, at the time of father Antonio Uccellatore da Bronte named father Purgatorio, “a new body orthogonally to the first” was raised from the foundations. The free access to the inner courtyard to the citizens who wished to draw water from the well, in the long run, ended up creating disturbances so much to push father Giuseppe from Castelbuono to ask for the prohibition of access to women.

The Pontifical prohibition order is dated March 20, 1843 and given by the provincial minister, Father Alessandro of Nicosia, on July 16th, as can be seen from the plaque on the left side of the entrance hall whose position constituted the “limit ultra quod mulieribus” progredi ulterius non licei sub poena excomunicationis “.

The infirmary remained active until 1862, and then passed to the municipality of Cefalù, probably after 1866, following the suppression of orders and religious corporations. The body of the factory to the south, which has undergone major changes, was intended, starting from 1960, partly to school activities, such as the first hotel and asylum institute then, and partly to storage. The architectural complex Infermeria dei Frati Cappuccini of Gibilmanna, commonly called Bastione, has a particularly important architectural and historical interest and is a significant example of the religious hospital architecture of the Order of Capuchin Friars within the territory of Cefalù and Sicilian.

(Source: Decree of the General Manager of the Regional Department of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity No. 6403 of 21 December 2016)

Biography

Nico Marino
Other notes of history cefaludese, Palermo 1985;

Rosa Brancato
Conventual places of cefalù intra moenia, Cefalù 1986;

Salvatore Culotta
Il Convento dell’Itria or Infirmary of the Capuchin Friars of Gibilmanna, in www.qualecefalu.it 2012;

Rosalba Gallà
Women’s drawings and works, female presences at the dawn of the Art School of Cefalù, Cefalù 2014.

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