posted by February 28 at 11:54 AMon
This paragraph, from this story about a new-fangled way to drop off unwanted babies, is awesome:
Foundling wheels were institutionalized by a papal bull issued in the 12th century by Pope Innocent III, who was shocked by the number of dead babies found in the Tiber. By 1204, there was a wheel in operation at the Santo Spirito Hospital in Rome, next to the Vatican. A 14th-century home for abandoned children in Naples, annexed to a church, is now a museum about foundlings. Many common family names in Italy can be traced to a foundling past: Esposito (because children were sometimes “exposed” on the steps of a convent), Proietti (from the Latin proicio, to throw away) or Innocenti (as in innocent of their father’s sin).
I really wish my last name meant “trash.” (But did Innocenti really mean “innocent of their father’s sin”? Were all the little ladies miraculous virgins?)