In this paper, a psychologist, who started working in 1975 in the psychiatric hospital of Florence, commonly known as "Manicomio di San Salvi", recounts empathically her peculiar experience, in the framework of the Italian culture of the 70s. A short, difficult but stimulating experience, her first contact with men- tally ill patients who lived for many years, and sometimes for all their life, into an asylum. In 1978, law number 180, the so-called "Legge Basaglia", ruled that psychiatric hospitals would be closed. No patient was to be admitted there ever again. Only those people who could not be accommodated elsewhere were allowed to remain there. Working with them from a psychological perspective was really a desperate enterprise! Currently, the premises of the former "San Salvi" Hospital host the Psychology Department of the University of Florence.