Historical Library


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The "Giuseppe Grosso" Library of History and Culture of Piedmont is a public institution which belongs to the Metropolitan City of Turin, particularly dedicated to the university world, but open to everybody, containing texts, documents, theses and various material that focuses on history, art and culture of Piedmont. It has about 200,000 volumes, including a section of periodicals, a large archival section, and graphic and photographic collections. It is based in Palazzo dal Pozzo della Cisterna in via Maria Vittoria 12 in Turin.

The Library was born in 1956 by the will and impulse of Giuseppe Grosso, Province of Turin president and university professor, willing to extend a pre-existing administrative only library with historical and more generally cultural sectors. The initiative came shortly after the establishment of the provincial reading network, with the creation of decentralized loan posts (1953) and the endowment of a special cultural fund in the institution's budget. The birth of a historical library (in the original meaning of a specialized library) had the specific purpose of gathering information about the history of Piedmont and the Ancient Sardinian States. In his speech to the Councilors in November 30, 1956, Grosso did describe it as "a library specializing in local problems, that means of local Piedmontese history, in setting various local, historical, economic, folkloric, dialectal problems, etc.". Soon after, on December 21, 1956, the councilor Renzo Forma settled that the new library should "constitute a missing specialization with which other libraries were less dealing". What may today appear as a reductive choice, focused as it was on localist historiography and without a concrete forecast regarding possible future external recipients, has over time proved to be a particularly effective and calibrated model for determining acquisitions on a geographical basis, in tune with the French model of regional studies. Its birth is also linked to a period of particular development and enthusiasm for the Risorgimento studies that came before the centenary of the Unification of Italy celebrations. The institution has expanded over the years, and always following the privileged line of topics, has collected a vast bibliographic and archival material, which in some cases (as in the Marino Parenti Collection) transcends its original geographical limits. It has been open to the public since May 20, 1964. The importance of the institution is witnessed by the close relationships with the Turin university world, which also directly contributed to its creation, thanks to the engagement of scholars such as Walter Maturi, Guido Quazza, Franco Venturi, Luigi Firpo. The latter conceived, among other things, the tripartite subjectarium (in people, places and subjects) that characterizes it from its origins, and that allows a more analytical approach to the research topics.

The Library, poured into the SBN computer system, hinges, with a non-local relief and unique characteristics, into the Italian cultural system, and represents an important reference for the world of research. The new perspectives are now set into the digitization of texts, currently in an experimental phase.

  • Awards

    The 18 of February 2010 "Giuseppe Grosso" Library received the HERITY certificate for the conservation and valorization of the cultural heritage. In 2013 the Library received the "Mario Soldati" award for culture promoted by "Centro Pannunzio di Torino".

  • Bibliographic collections

    Some of the general collection that make up the core of the library merged during time with some important funds: Statesman and professor Carlo Ignazio Giulio’s personal library, with texts from '700 and '800, the senator Giorgio Ermanno Anselmi’s bibliographic fund, of the bibliographer and essayist Marino Parenti’s library, which contains a rare books sector, Terenzio Grandi and Umberto Griffini’s funds, the library of scholars Augusta and Guglielmo Lange, the library of Otto Campini, containing a part of Hélène from Savoia-Aosta’s library (most of which is at the National Library of Naples), Valdo Fusi’s one and the library of architects Armando Melis de Villa and Umberto Bertagna. The library holds also 11 incunabula and various manuscripts and gathers a lot of periodicals from '700 to present days and minor sectors of geographic maps, prints and generic graphic arts, a theatrical archival fund, a dialectic one (Morselli fund) and an important historic photographs section with Luigi Sacchi’s canotypes belonging to the first Italian experimentations in photography during ’40 of '800.

  • Archives

    The archivist sector holds 50 sets, mostly related to noble families, scientists, historians, literati, politics, architects from Piedmont of '800 and '900. In particular: Avogadro di Novara, Bosses di Bosses, Carron di San Tommaso, Cotti di Ceres, Filippa di Martiniana, Freylino di Buttigliera, Gazzelli di Rossana, Germano di Borgo d'Ale, Nazari di Novara, Ermanno Anselmi, Giuseppe Baruffi, Domenico Berti, Giovanni Cena, Leonetto Cipriani, Gaudenzio Claretta, Luigi Colla, Guglielmo e Augusta Lange, Antonio Manno, Emanuele Marliani, Anton Maria Mucchi, Lorenzo e Giovanni Battista Millet, Alberto Nota, Marino Parenti, Carlo Ignazio Giulio e famiglia, Valdo Fusi, Camillo Riccio, Lorenzo Valerio, Carlo Mario Zuccarelli. Other archives reguard single periodo of the history of Piedmont.

  • Our bibliography
    • I libri di Marino Parenti: un'importante acquisizione della nostra biblioteca, in "Cronache da Palazzo Cisterna", 3 (1966), pp. 18-20.
    • Maria Rosaria Pacì, Rivive la storia piemontese nelle raccolte della biblioteca provinciale, in "Cronache da Palazzo Cisterna", 2 (1967), pp. 50-54.
    • Maria Rosaria Demicheli Pacì, La Biblioteca della Provincia, in "Torino", 2, marzo-aprile 1967, pp. 27-28.
    • Lorenzo Valerio, Carteggio (1825-1865), raccolto da Luigi Firpo, Guido Quazza, Franco Venturi, edito a cura di Adriano Viarengo, Torino, I, 1991 (1825-1841); II, 1994 (1842-1847); III, 1998 (1848), IV, 2003 (1849), V, 2010 (1850-1855).
    • La Biblioteca di Storia e Cultura del Piemonte, a cura di Walter Canavesio, Torino, Provincia di Torino, 1997
    • Walter Canavesio, Una storia quarantennale... lunga oltre 60 mila volumi, in "Cronache piemontesi", n. 48, 1997, pp. 30-33.
    • Luigi Sacchi. Un artista dell'Ottocento nell'Europa dei fotografi. Le fotografia della Raccolta Perenti nella Biblioteca di Storia e Cultura del Piemonte, a cura di Roberto Cassanelli, Torino, Provincia di Torino, 1998.
    • Seicentina. Tipografi e libri nel Piemonte del '600, a cura di Walter Canavesio, Torino, Provincia di Torino, 1999.
    • Un uomo di lettere. Marino Parenti e il suo epistolario, a cura di Angelo d'Orsi, Torino, Provincia di Torino, 2001.
    • Bruno Signorelli, Tre anni di ferro. Dal disarmo di San Benedetto Po alla vittoria di Torino del 1706 nella corrispondenza fra Vittorio Amedeo II e il conte Giuseppe Biglione, Torino, Provincia di Torino, 2003.
    • Filippo Morgantini, Camillo Riccio e la costruzione della città borghese. Formazione e professione nella Torino delle grandi esposizioni attraverso i disegni di Camillo e Arnaldo Riccio nella Biblioteca di Storia e Cultura del Piemonte, Torino, Provincia di Torino, 2004.
    • Novus ordo. Il cammino delle Province verso l'Unità d'Italia, Torino, Provincia di Torino, 2008
    • Monica Cuffia, I manoscritti araldici della Biblioteca della Provincia, in "L'araldica del pennino", Atti del Convegno, Torino 2009, pp. 145-156.
    • Rivista "Percorsi. Saggi e rassegne sulle fonti della Biblioteca di Storia e Cultura del Piemonte 'Giuseppe Grosso'", semestrale, 1 (2002) - 7 (2004).

Last update: 06 April 2022