In a particularly significant year for nurses as we acknowledge their vital role during the pandemic, a stamp celebrates the profession and one particularly well-known nurse, Florence Nightingale, to mark her bicentenary as well as the 2020 International Year of the Nurse, as proclaimed by the World Health Organisation.
The item is a rare instance of an Italian postal stamp being dedicated to a foreign citizen, although Florence Nightingale was actually born in Italy in 1820, returning in 1837-38 and 1847-48, cementing her link to the city where she developed her social and scientific knowledge.
The postage stamp dedicated to the founder of modern nursing
Released on October 29, the stamp is based on a sketch by Claudia Giusto and belongs to the thematic series titled “The Civic Sense”. Against the background of the Ponte Vecchio, we see Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, alongside the “Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Eastern Army”, created by Nightingale during the Crimean War. Above her, you can see the logo of the Federazione Nazionale degli Ordini delle Professioni Infermieristiche (FNOPI), the nursing association behind the initiative.
Students, nurses and British citizens, including the director of The British Institute, Simon Gammell, placed flowers in the front of the recently restored monument to Florence Nightingale at the Basilica of Santa Croce.
President of the Opera di Santa Croce, Irene Sanesi emphasised that “Florence is an icon… This stamp seals her role as a courageous woman, a forerunner of the times and founder of modern nursing science.”
The Florence Nightingale Museum in London has been granted the rights to reproduce the image and welcomed its release. Museum director David Green commented that he was “really grateful for all the work that has been done in Italy to help us remember Florence in this very special year, especially for all nurses”.
An exhibition featuring all stamps issued globally in memory of Florence Nightingale will be on display at Florence’s Spazio Filatelia, via Pellicceria 3, from October 29 until December 8. The show will later travel to other cities.
The postage stamp and related products will be available at post offices in Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Rome, Turin, Trieste, Venice, Verona and on the poste.it website.