Passato Prossimo (Present Pefect) - Santa Maria della Pietà 1914-2014
Project info

Santa Maria della Pietà in Rome was the largest European psychiatric hospital when it opened in 1914. Its long and controversial history runs parallel with the development of psychiatric studies in Italy and Europe in the twentieth century.

Officially it was closed in 1999, following a significant reform in the Italian mental health legislation known as “Legge Basaglia”, from the name of its promoter.
Nonetheless some of the pavilions housed in a 100-hectar park are still in use today for various health-care services. Many others remain neglected, like containers of the crystallized memories of their old inhabitants.

With architecture photographer Francesca Pompei we started documenting this complex situation, matching our contrasting styles with the intention of provoking a short-circuit in perceptions and offering a deeper impression of a place with such a difficult history and striving towards a different future.

Eventually we produced a series that alternates Francesca's color photography for the neglected architectures and my black and white portraits of the current patients. The series was selected and exhibited at Fotografia - International Photography Festival of Rome and at Naked City Festival in Rome.

In this series I'm presenting the portraits of the patients I met during this project.
Francesca's photos can be found in her Lens Culture profile at: