It is now possible to visit the complex of S. Spirito in Sassia, attached to the hospital of the same name on Lungotevere in Sassia, close to St Peters. The original foundation is attributed to King Ine of Wessex, who abdicated to take up residence in Rome in 726 and built this as a hostel for Saxon pilgrims to Rome.
Unfortunately none of the original building remains but the existing hospital, built by Sixtus IV between 1473 and 1478, is now used for functions, events and exhibitions. The guided tour includes the Corsia Sistina, the old hospital wards which are decorated with 15th-century frescoes, and the octagonal Tiburio between the wards, which contains an altar attributed to Palladio, the only example of his work in Rome. It includes the Palazzo del Commendatore built for Pius V between 1566-72 with splendidly-decorated rooms and cloisters. Beside the main gate, designed by Bernini, is the oldest ruota esposta in Rome, a place where unwanted babies were left.
The guided tours take place on Mondays at 10.30 and 15.30, tickets cost 7.50, for students and the elderly 5. The visit is accessible to wheelchairs. Advance booking is necessary, tel. 06 68352433, www.giubilarte.it.