Benedictine monks lived on this island from at least the eighth century and for almost five hundred years. They were joined later by nuns escaping from the convents of Saints Leone and Basso on the island of Malamocco, which had been destroyed by a seaquake. At the beginning of the 15th century the nuns departed, but they were soon replaced by a few dozen other nuns, who were fleeing the Turkish invasion of Crete. However, by the beginning of the eighteenth century, only a few were left, and soon thereafter the Senate of the Republic of Venice designated San Servolo as the site of a new military hospital, needed due to the continuing war against the Turks. Later the hospital was used to care for the mentally ill.
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