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Saturday 16 December 2017
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icon_galleryMuseo del Bigallo

This building is a landmark of crucial importance in the history of Florence, not only on account of the famous image it hosts with the oldest known view of the city but also because it was the seat of two ancient charitable institutions, the "Misericordia" and the "Bigallo", which were two of the numerous charities offering welfare and accommodation that are such a characteristic feature of the city's history (including the Hospitals of the Innocenti, of Santa Maria Nuova and of San Giovanni di Dio, to name but three). Construction work began on the complex known as the "Bigallo" to house the Confraternita di Santa Maria della Misericordia in Piazza San Giovanni, on the corner of Corso degli Adimari (now Via Calzaiuoli), some time around the middle of the 14th century. The confraternity shared the premises with the Compagnia del Bigallo for about a century until 1525, when the "Misericordia" moved elsewhere – it only moved to the opposite corner of Via Calzaiuoli in 1576 – and the Compagnia del Bigallo became the sole occupier, linking its name to the building for ever. The Venerabile Arciconfraternita della Misericordia, or Venerable Archconfraternity of Mercy, which has never known a single break in its charity work since its foundation, was established "for the purpose of assisting and accompanying the sick and the accident-prone to hospital and removing bodies from the street". The latter role was crucial during such disasters as flooding or the plague. The Compagnia Maggiore di Santa Maria del Bigallo, or Greater Company of Santa Maria del Bigallo, was involved chiefly in helping pilgrims and abandoned or lost children. Of the twelve hospitals that it ran, the most important was the Bigallo (in Bagno a Ripoli) and it has been known by that name ever since. Both companies were founded in 1244 by St. Peter Martyr, who is frequently depicted in the works of art in the museum. St. Peter Martyr (Verona, 1205 – Milan, 1252) was a famous Dominican preacher best-known for his pugnacious opposition to heresy. He was sent to Florence in 1244, starting his fervent activities in Santa Maria Novella where he formed the "Società della Fede", or "Society of Faith", which was to spawn both the Compagnia del Bigallo and the "Misericordia".

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città di firenze
Comune di Firenze
Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria
50122 FIRENZE
P.IVA 01307110484
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Amministrazione Trasparente: I dati personali pubblicati sono riutilizzabili solo alle condizioni previste dalla direttiva comunitaria 2003/98/CE e dal d.lgs. 36/2006