Villa Sbertoli was built in Tuscany in the 1800s by Italian businessman Augustine Sbertoli. One version of the story is that his son went insane, but another says he merely had a physical disability. Either way, in 1868 the wealthy Sbertoli converted his villa into a hospital, which housed his son and began accepting patients from all over Europe. The patients had ailments ranging from the physical (epilepsy) to the mental (alcoholism and various psychiatric disorders). With its stunning views, frescoes and palatial grounds, Villa Sbertoli was a remarkably beautiful location for a mental hospital.
Except for a time during World War II when it was briefly used as a prison, Villa Sbertoli remained a psychiatric hospital until the late 1970s, when Italy passed a mental health act that required such facilities to close. Even after the act was passed, the hospital provided a number of services until 1998, at which time it was abandoned.
See a large photo collection, including shots of what the hospital looked like in operation, here.
Images: Alex Doomer
View of Tuscany from Villa Sbertoli