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Italy. Province of Lazio. Rome. Santa Maria della Pieta is an asylum for mentally handicapped people.  An old woman with grey hair seats on a chair close to a green wall. Mental hospital. Lunatic asylum. Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, are hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders. Santa Maria della Pieta is specialised in the temporary or permanent care of residents who, as a result of a psychological disorder, require routine assistance, treatment, or a specialised and controlled environment. Patients are often admitted on a voluntary basis, but involuntary commitment is practiced when an individual may pose a significant danger to themselves or others. 11.07.97 © 1997 Didier Ruef