Ospedale del Ceppo
The Ospedale del Ceppo was founded in 1277. Its name derives from the hollow tree trunk (ceppo), which was used to collect alms.
The elegant Renaissance portico, which took its inspiration from that of the Ospedale degli Innocenti, in Florence, was added in 1502. In the previous year the hospital had become part of the Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova, also in Florence, whose spedalingo (managing director), Leonardo Buonafede, commissioned the frieze in polychrome glazed terracotta.
The frieze is the work (1525) of Santi Buglioni (1494-1576) and illustrates the Seven Works of Mercy, interspersed with personifications of such virtues as Prudence, Faith, Charity, Hope and Justice.
The seven corporal acts of mercy are: to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to give shelter to travellers, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, and to bury the dead.
The five tondi (1525), the work of Giovanni della Robbia (1469-1529), depict the Annunciation, the Virgin in Glory and the Visitation. The three scenes are flanked by coats of arms.