The Fabrizio Ruffo Archive
Getting to know this archive means exploring the knowledge and collections of an aristocratic family and its most famous members
Fabrizio Ruffo, Prince of Motta Bagnara (1845-1917), politician and businessman, was senator of the Kingdom of Italy from 1896 until he died. An incredibly cultured man, he amassed a large collection of works of art, now kept at Palazzo Venezia, like the ‘two friends’ by Giorgione; and a remarkable library of fine arts publications.
Two antique globes once in Ruffo's collection: the Globo Celeste (left) and the Globo Terrestre (right)
The archive was donated by Fabrizio Ruffo in 1915. It is composed of circa 15,000 books, combined with two antique globes: one terrestrial, the other celestial. The Ruffo Archive has the characteristics of a private collection formed by various generations of men-at-arms (Fabrizio Ruffo, 1619-1692), scholars (Tommaso Ruffo, 1663-1753) and cardinals (Fabrizio Ruffo, 1744-1823). As such, it contains novels, travel books, atlases, technical texts related to wine growing or horse breeding, religious ceremonies, treatises on theology, philosophy, history, literature, art books, collections of illustrated periodicals or of photographs, and precious encyclopaedias. They are often enriched by prized bindings and bear the crests of the owners.
Will of the Honourable Fr. D. Fabritio Ruffo, Prior of Bagnara and Grand Prior of Capua, published in 1692
The collection has mostly been broken up and integrated with other sections of the Library. An old card catalogue organised by author and by subject is available in the Sala della Crociera at the Roman College.