Along the ancient and steep stretch of Via Aretina, just before reaching the Apparita farmhouse, is a grand and austere building.
It is in this way that Antonio Carocci, an important local historian, describes the ancient hospital of Bigallo founded in 1214 by Dioticidiede Bonaguida del Dado.
The name Bigallo derives from Bivius Galli, insofar as it was the junction (“bivio” in Italian) between the ancient Via del Gallo and Via Aretina.
In 1245, the Hospital property passed to the Santa Maria Maggiore Society, a religious Florentine brotherhood, changing the coat of arms to a rooster on a blue field with the initials SMB (Sancte Marie de Bigallo).
In the sixteenth century, Bigallo became a cloistered convent, even though it kept the hospital open for wayfarers. The enclosure brought about the implementation of a clear separation of space and the garden’s closure with high walls. The monastery was then closed by the French government after three hundred years of activity and was, from then on, used as a residence by several families of farmers.
The Hospital of Bigallo has been restored to its original function, a hostel occupies the entire top floor where numerous rooms have been fitted out, furnished and inspired by medieval “hospitals”, which can accommodate up to 52 people. The large and impressive living room with coffered ceiling and refectory pulpit is now used as a meeting room, and for events and weddings. The beautiful monumental kitchen has remained intact over time, where there are still elements of value such as the large fireplace and the old stone sink.
You can still admire the basement laundry room which has maintained the basin cavity for washing clothes and an interesting system of water canals that are very similar to an ancient aqueduct.