Originally, there was a sixteenth-century house here, Casa Rizzetti, later converted into an inn, where the romantic poet Lord Byron stayed between 1819 and 1820.
On the occasion of the redevelopment of the entire Dante area in 1936, the Piacenza architect Giulio Ulisse Arata designed the current building in rationalist style, the side of which overlooks Piazza San Francesco, while the facade with the main entrance is on Via Corrado Ricci.
Today it is home to the Oriani Library, which opened in 1927 and specialises in contemporary history and political, economic and social studies. Ample space is reserved for volumes dealing with fascism and anti-fascism, the history of political parties in Italy, and trade union and workers’ movements, and, more generally, political and social thought.
Dedicated to the Romagna writer Alfredo Oriani (Faenza, 22 August 1852 – Casola Valsenio, 18 October 1909), it houses a corpus of about 170 thousand volumes, the most important nucleus of which is made up of about 20 thousand titles dedicated to Fascist publishing.
Curiously enough, during the same period, “non-Fascist books” were also acquired – thanks to a special dispensation – but they could not be consulted. Alfredo Oriani was the author of the work La rivolta ideale (The Ideal Revolt), which influenced many political and cultural figures.
This library also houses the collections of Olindo Guerrini, who donated his house to the Municipality of Ravenna to create a cultural centre, for the Ravenna Resistance, and the collection named after Mario Lapucci, enriched with humorous publications.
Since 1973, the support of the State, the Region, the Province and the Municipality of Ravenna has enabled the library to expand its activities, spaces and collections. Since 1992 the newspaper and periodicals library has been transferred to the premises of the adjacent Palazzo Farini.