Analysis of the former Psychiatric Hospital: the decision to build an Asylum in Limbiate

The idea of building a big Psychiatric Hospital to host the patients affected by mental disorders from the province of Milan, and the cities of Lombardy, underwent a lengthy discussion in the first half of the 19th century.


Many politicians, administrators, men of culture and alienists who dealt with this project, among which, Dr. Luigi Verga, former director of the asylum of Senavra. After discarding various proposals, like the building of a big asylum in Desio, the ideal spot was found in Villa Crivelli Pusterla in Mombello (Limbiate), where, as we all know, Napoleone Bonaparte had once lived. The villa complied with some other solutions pointed out, and had the advantage of having some parts that could immediately be used, while waiting for the building of new pavilions. The Provincial Office that had assumed the financing of the works for the new asylum before the passing of the National law of 1865, aimed to make of Mombello a provincial healthcare structure, and not consider it as a branch of the Senavra psychiatric hospital. In this project the Office was strongly opposed by important and influential alienists, like Castiglioni and Biffi, who were waiting to build a big central asylum in Desio. And perhaps, also due to this, precisely Castiglioni was entrusted the task of adapting Villa Crivelli Pusterla to the new demands, with the help of a group of engineers and the architects who were members of the public administration.