via Amendola, 2
area ex San Lazzaro
42122 Reggio Emilia
Established in 1991 by the USL n.9 local health authority, the Province of Reggio Emilia, and the Institute for Cultural Heritage of the Emilia Romagna Region, the centre documents the history of asylum psychiatry in Reggio Emilia. It houses the books, archives, and images of the San Lazzaro Neuropsychiatric Institute, located in the vast building compound on a site that was used as a leper colony in the 13th century, and converted into an insane asylum in 1536. During the first half of the 19th century it was turned into a treatment facility, and now hosts various medical facilities.
The original core of the collection comprises the library of Dr. Zani, director of the Institute from 1871 to 1873, which includes about 1,000 books. It was later augmented by the Tamburini bequeathment and other books collections, including texts on psychiatry, neurology, anatomical pathology and histology, and 19th century journals. One section features legal medicine and criminology texts, as well as Lombroso and Ferri’s main essays. The centre also has an archives with documents from the 18th and 19th centuries, and a collection of photographs from 1880 onwards. The museum’s two halls display therapeutic and restraining tools, lab instruments, and pottery, needlework, leather objects, paintings, and sculptures by asylum inmates. The adjacent oratory, rebuilt in 1785, features some interesting 17th and 18th century paintings.