The Ragghianti Foundation , named after one of the greatest Italian art historians of the twentieth century and his wife Licia Collobi (also a distinguished scholar), was established in 1981 thanks to the donation by the Ragghianti spouses of their library, photo library and archive at the Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca. It has always aimed to " offer the city and the territory of north-western Tuscany, as well as anyone interested, an instrument for studying art, in history and in the present ".
The Foundation is based in the suggestive monumental complex of San Micheletto , within the city walls, near Porta Elisa and the Botanical Garden: an ideal place for study, research and the enjoyment of beauty and culture.
That of the Ragghianti Foundation is one of the most important Italian libraries specialized in art history. Of extraordinary interest are also the archives (which can be consulted by appointment) and the collection of brochures and photographs, which amount to over one hundred and fifty thousand.
Since the beginning of its activity, the Ragghianti Foundation has organized important art exhibitions, becoming an internationally recognized exhibition center of excellence.
The “ Pier Carlo Santini Sculpture Gardens ”, a permanent exhibition of 32 works belonging to the Foundation's collection, are also open since December 2016. The sculptures on display are by important artists, especially Italians; for the most part these are donations that arrived during the 1980s and 1990s. Decisive in the constitution of this collection was Pier Carlo Santini (Lucca, 1924 - Florence, 1993), the first unforgotten director of the Ragghianti Foundation. Hence the desire to dutifully pay homage to him with the title of these " The gardens of sculpture Pier Carlo Santini " which are intended to be a gift of beauty and meaning for the city of Lucca and for all visitors to this place.
In the first cloister there are sculptures by Giò Pomodoro , Gigi Guadagnucci , Girolamo Ciulla , Marcello Guasti , Alba Gonzales , Pietro Cascella , Paolo Triglia , Ugo La Pietra , Rosario Murabito , Pier Giorgio Balocchi , Pino Castagna , Quinto Ghermandi and Nado Canuti . In the spaces of the library of the Ragghianti Foundation there are works by Alberto Viani , Vittorio Tavernari , Giuseppe Rivadossi , Giuliano Vangi and Ivan Theimer . In the second cloister we find monumental works in stone and marble by Mario Negri , Lorenzo Guerrini , Luciano Pera and Salvatore Sava and also two terracotta and ceramics by Pino Castagna and Novello Finotti .