The Manicomio Montedale (an alias to protect the real location translating to ‘Asylum Montedale’) was built in 1907 as an Italian insane asylum. The government purchased 100 acres of land to build the hospital, which was going to be used to relieve the intense overcrowding at the small, local asylum. Despite being opened in 1910, most of the buildings were built during the 1930s.
In 1933, a central church was added and decorated by a painter who, ironically, was admitted into the hospital that same year. By 1937, the paintings were completed. These paintings have been refered to as one of the most complete examples of art therapy used to help mental patients. In addition to the paintings, there is a massive, yet rail, nativity scene created by a group of patients during the 1980s (this set is now damaged due to the abandonment).
In more recent years, there have been attempts to keep the building in good condition so that the art may be preserved, even despite the fact that entry into the hospital is prohibited. The hospital closed for good in 1998 due to Law 180 (the Basaglia Law), though a few of the additional buildings are still in operation for mental treatment.
During September, 2011, construction on two new treatment pavilions began, joining the original structures.