The archive is the central source for the history of the psychiatric hospitals, because it contains the records about all the fields of the asylum.

The most important fund is composed by the case files (about 100.000), with all the data (biographical, clinical etc.) about the patients. Two books, based on researches made on these records, were published in 2009 and 2011 (editor Riccardo Panattoni). 

Photos fund - Artworks by patients

The fund is composed by about 10.000 artworks (drawings, pottery, canvas...) made by the patients. The first drawing school in the hospital was started by director Augusto Tamburini and it was attended especially by rich patients, not involved in the common working activities suggested for "ergotherapy".

During the '70s, they opened a new atelier, following the ideas of the rising art therapy: in that period the main part of the collection was produced, both by adults and children.

A selection of these works is exhibited in the Museum of the history of psychiatry. We are going to catalogue the complete fund. See the short catalogue in pdf.

A particular kind of art work is the so-called "ars canusina", an artcraft production inspired by the typical Romanesque patterns, made by the children hosted in the Marro school. They worked with pottery, embroidering, wood, leather. This form of artcraft is a trademark, still active:

See the short catalogue in pdf.

Temporary exhibitions

The library promotes temporary exhibitions of painting, photos and other media, in order to encourage the reflection about mental diseases and mental health.

Catalogues of the exhibitions set up since 2016 are available here

Educational projects

We offer some educational projects in our archive for student of high school and university.

Cinema and madness

In 2003 the Center for the history of psychiatry started a collection of films (on DVD) about mental diseases, curated by prof. Cesare Secchi.

Later the collection was acquired by Carlo Livi Library. We inform that there isn't exact conformity between the list of films proposed by prof Cesare Secchi and dr. Roberto Salati (more 1400 today and continuously growing) and the library catalogue.

Ultimo aggiornamento: 29/03/21