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The world’s most beautiful E.R. – Pilgrims Hall in Santa Maria della Scala

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It’s in Siena, Italy. Today’s New York Times story by Elizabeth Rosenthal begins with a jaw-dropping photo of Pilgrims Hall in Santa Maria della Scala, a 14th century medieval hospital whose main hall, with its cross-vaulted, frescoed ceiling, was used as an active E.R. until 1993.

Pilgrims Hall got its name in the 14th century, when it cared for exhausted pilgrims on their way to Rome. “There, the hospital’s doctors bandaged their feet and treated their wounds and other people fed them.”

The hospital moved to a modern building in 1997, and the old hospital is now being restored rather than being renovated into a modern conference center, as had been proposed. That means they’ll have to fill in the windows placed in the middle of invaluable frescoes during the 19th century to add ventilation.

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