Welcome to the
Venice Ophthalmology Summer School

Even if the medical world, from both the scientific and educational sides, is currently considered a sort of village, where communication spreads in real time mainly through the web, there is still need for direct (oral) transmission of hypothesis, theories and experience, and for direct contact between teachers and trainees. Ophthalmology is not different from other medical specialties. Moreover, at least at the European level there is a strong need for a real integration among specialists from the different European Countries, and this is particularly true for the new generation of young specialists. The harmonization of education in Ophthalmology needs direct daily contact among trainees, at least for a period of time, to share their previous experiences and to create a network for the future cultural project. The Venice Ophthalmology Summer School offers a new experience and new opportunities to young and motivated ophthalmologists.


Prof. Edoardo Midena
VOSS Organizer



The aim of the Venice Ophthalmology Summer School (VOSS) is to allow very young specialists in Ophthalmology to be actively involved in a full immersion course on advanced basic and clinical topics in Ophthalmology. Besides key note lectures, attendees will have the possibility of a continuous dialogue with Faculty members; they are also encouraged to present their personal experience which will be discussed in plenary sessions and they will actively participate in the presentations given by the Faculty members. The participants are very young specialists in Ophthalmology mainly coming from all countries of the European Community. They will be selected through an international call. The Faculty Members are well known leaders in Ophthalmology, involved in basic research and/or clinical ophthalmology, with a special ability in teaching. The VOSS language is English. The philosophy of the VOSS is that this school is free of charge for the selected participants. The venue is inside the city of Venice, not only one of the most worldwide known art cities, but historically (and currently) one of the most multiethnic and multicultural cities in the world. A place where languages, cultures and religions meet since more than 1000 years. The location is the island of San Servolo: a small island of the Venetian Lagoon. This island is a property of the Province of Venice (Provincia di Venezia), and it currently hosts an International University for Arts and other educational institutions. Therefore, the Venice Ophthalmology Summer School will be hosted in an island- based campus.


San Servolo Island and its History

San Servolo is a small island in the central part of the Venetian Lagoon, to the southeast of San Giorgio Maggiore and overlooking San Marco Square. It covers an area of 4.82 hectares, almost ten times that of the original sandy dune formed by the natural geological evolution of the lagoon area. The island was first inhabited around the year 600 AD by a group of Benedictine monks expelled from the monastry of San Stefano d’Altino, the most famous Roman town along the coast and in front of the lagoon. Between 764 AD and 804, AD the Calbana family erected both the church devoted to San Servolo and a convent. But it was only from 1109 that the San Servolo Island hosted a large convent due to the arrival of Benedictine nuns, who lived there for five centuries. In 1615, they moved to Venice major islands.. From 1647 the convent hosted again Benedictine, Dominican and Franciscan nuns who were refugees from areas (mainly the Isle of Candia) involved in the Turkish invasion. They lived in San Servolo Island until 1715, when the convent was closed and the island was eventually abandoned. Then, the Senate of the Venetian Republic decided to use, after a full restoration, the remaining buildings as a new military hospital. The city was plenty of wounded soldiers arriving from the war scenaria of the Turkish campaign, and the existing military hospital was fully insufficient. The medical and welfare organization were appointed to the religious order of San Giovanni di Dio, today known as Fatebenefratelli. Drugs were locally produced by monks. After the end of military campaigns, the island became an hospital for psychiatric patients (an asylum). In 1798, the Goverment of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Venice was part of this Empire) declared San Servolo as the main asylum of Veneto, Dalmatia and Tyrol. And San Servolo remained a major male asylum of the Italian Kingdom (from 1866 to 1946) , and then of the Italian Republic (1946-1978). In 1978, a special law promoted the closure of all Italian psychiatric hospitals. And San Servolo was, again, abandoned. During the last decade of the 20th century the Province of Venice began a program of full restoration of all buildings. San Servolo Island is now hosting the Fondazione San Servolo IRSESC (Institute for Research and Studies on Social and Cultural Alienation), the Venice International University and a seat of the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. The island also hosts a museum of the history of psychiatric treatment, an old pharmacy and a specialized medical library.