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 in Florence, whose spedalingo, Leonardo Buonafede, commissioned the frieze in glazed terracotta. It is the work (1525) of Santi Buglioni (1494-1576) and illustrates the Seven Works of Mercy, interspersed with personifications of Prudence, Faith, Charity, Hope and Justice.
The five tondoes (1525) are the work of the Florentine sculptor Giovanni della Robbia (1469-1529) and depict the Annunciation, the Virgin in Glory and the Visitation. The three scenes are flanked by coats of arms.
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