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To survive, you must tell stories…(“,)

Granzette Psychiatric Hospital between history and legends.

4 min read

The project of the Psychiatric Hospital of Rovigo was born in 1906, by the Provincial Council that decided to open a Psychiatric Hospital in Rovigo, to bring together all the patients of this area with mental problems, that until then were scattered in 41 hospitals throughout Italy. The total of ​​the chosen area, including buildings (including 9 pavilions) avenues, courtyards, gardens and agricultural colonies, was 20 hectares, two hundred thousand square meters. The official opening of the Psychiatric Hospital was only on March 20, 1930, for various facts, including the use of the area during the First World War by the Military Administration. The structure was designed and created to accommodate 400 people, but in reality accomodated about 700 people. From 1930 to 1980, the Psychiatric Hospital of Granzette had the function of “hospitalization and care” of psychiatric patients throughout the province of Rovigo. In this period, the treatment of psychiatric patients was of a coercive and violent type, in fact the electrochoc and insulin therapy were practiced. In December 1997 the building was definitively closed. Since then, the entire area has been abandoned and the structure is in a state of complete abandonment (with the exception of three fairly preserved pavilions that are used by the ASL 18 as deposits and archives). During the Second World War the Rovigo Psychiatric Hospital was also used by the Nazi-fascists to lock up some prisoners and in 1944 the structure suffered the occupation of the German troops who obtained the use of the isolation pavilion for their own war purposes (historic documents report that German soldiers used the Granzette Hospital as an anti-aircraft station).

Still today, the psychiatric ospital of Rovigo preserves scary stories and legends that crash with the attempts of the present to try to make it live again. I did a research, and speak about all would be impossible. It’s interesting the story of the hypothetical treasure of the Germans, hidden during the Second World War: popular rumors tell of Nazis that during the retreat of April 1945, worried about swimming for the crossing of the Adige river (because they had been knocked down bridges), they would hide a treasure chest of treasures stolen in churches and patrician institutions and villas, in the Granzette psychiatric ospital, already used by German troops. Over the years somebody have sought gold, emptying parts of the asylum but apparently they have not succeeded. True? The real version speak about a woman, Sara Lanzoni, from Boara Polesine, about the corpses of German soldiers found in the river Adige in the period 17-26 April 1945. It seems she would have found a ticket intestated to Hans Mayer in which was mentioned several times the words “asylum (irrenhaus) of Granzette” accompanied by the word “gold” (gold).

The most disturbing legend, however, speaks about a mysterious guardian: a threatening figure seems to wander about the remains of the huge asylum and takes the features of a long-haired and white haired man who stops the occasional visitors and threatens them, with various blunt instruments, to leave the place immediately. The mysteries linked at this place are really a lot and remain in this place where no one is allowed to enter.

People who live near the Granzette Psychiatric Hospital says they hear screams coming from the structure, especially on full moon nights.

For people who believe at ghost stories, It is not difficult to think that here, where lot of suffering has gathered over time, there may be presences or entities that still inhabit this place, as if the memory of what was, of what they lived, chained them, there forever. Inside one of the pavilions, it is said that there is a room that time ago housed a child and that on the walls there is written a kind of maledition: “Whoever enters this room will be cursed forever”. (I don’t found this room, but some pavilions were closed). Each of these buildings, every room and every door, tells one, a hundred, and a thousand stories about the people who stayed there. While i walking through the long corridors and touching the many half-open doors of the various rooms, for long moments I perceived fragments of lived lives, memories, sensations that I tried to capture in these photos.

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