At the end of the XII century, Pope Innocenzo II, horrified by the ignoble fate of numerous abandoned babies who were born from the incest between nobles and priests and their concubines, introduced a ward dedicated to these unfortunate “founds” or “trovatelli”. It consisted in a small facility managed by nuns where, though a simple circular device made of wood that was divided in two parts closed by a window, the baby was abandoned and then turned inside he facility where the sisters would have looked after them. The system was named “Rota Proietti” (from the latin “proiectus” which means “thrown”, from which word the famous surname Proietti comes from). Apart from taking care of the kids, the nuns were giving them names with which they would have been subsequently registered to the town-hall. However, before being scheduled, the “trovatelli” were described according to their physical traits to be recognised in the future by their biological mothers and sometimes, when no peculiarities were found, signs such as bites or small scars were left on their fragile bodies.
Despite male, many of them were even recorded as females to make them avoid the terrible fate of the war. And this created a few unpleasant surprises within a society where wedding were mainly arranged by the families.
“La Rota” which was established in Vieste is exactly below this room next to the grinding wheel visible from the window. The window where the circular device was built is now covered with lime, but it is still possible to identify it on the wall.