Accattoni. L’Albergo Ventimigliano di Catania tra idee, lessico e rappresentazioni
N. 1, GENNAIO-MARZO
Beggars. Ventimiglia’s guest-house in Catania: ideas, lexicon, and representations
In the eighteenth century, Archbishop Salvatore Ventimiglia founded a guest-house in Catania to shelter local beggars – the disabled and the elderly in particular. The project aimed at dealing with the poverty spreading throughout the island, a result of both demographic increase and everlasting famine. The foundation was initially created to be a typical Ancien Régime hospice providing food and accommodation as well as relief and spiritual aid (confession and religious comfort). During the following century, the guest-house was to become an integral part of the territory: firstly, it ensured public safety and reduced wandering; secondly, it helped enhance the circulation of money, supplying credit to the local elite.