The Paolo Cresci Museum for the History of Italian Emigration is located within the Palazzo Ducale in Lucca, in the little Chapel of S. Maria della Misericordia and adjacent premises. The Chapel is also called della Rotonda as a reference to its circular layout. The church was erected from a Roman building and was first mentioned in a document dated 1131. It was then included in the vast complex of the Fortezza Augusta, built starting from 1322 by Castruccio Castracani. Over the centuries, various changes and transformations were made;it is known that towards the end of the seventeenth century the little chapel was in a bad state, which led to the decision to restore it.The brothers of the Confraternity of the Misericordia decided to decorate the vault. The work was done by Ippolito Marracci. The fresco creates the illusion of a dome divided into painted skylights. In the middle of it, the Virgin Mary rises atop the clouds with the background of the sky.
Recent restoration works on the Palazzo Ducale made it possible to bring out the full architectural value of the little Chapel. The eighteenth century frescoes were also restored and the Chapel was opened to the public