Historical Library


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The "Giuseppe Grosso" Library of History and Culture of Piedmont is a public institution, owned by the Metropolitan City of Turin, addressed mainly to the university community but open to everyone. The library contains texts, documents, dissertations and various items documenting the history, art and culture of Piedmont. It counts approximately 200,000 volumes, including a periodicals section, and a large archival section, as well as graphic and photographic collections. It is located in Palazzo dal Pozzo della Cisterna in Via Maria Vittoria 12 in Turin.

The Library was set up in 1956 at the behest and initiative of the President of the Province of Turin and university lecturer Giuseppe Grosso, with the aim to extend a pre-existing library of an almost exclusively administrative nature to historical and more generally cultural sectors. The initiative followed shortly after the establishment of the provincial reading network, with the creation of decentralised lending posts (1953) and the endowment of a special cultural fund in the authority's financial statements.
The establishment of an historical library (in the original meaning of a specialised library) had the specific aim to document the history of Piedmont and the Old Sardinian States the most. In his speech to the councillors on 30 November 1956, Grosso described the library as being 'specialised in local problems, i.e. in local Piedmontese history, in the setting of various local problems, historical, economic, folkloristic, dialectal, etc.'.
Shortly afterwards, on 21st December 1956, the councillor Renzo Forma clarified that the new library was supposed to 'constitute a specialisation that was missing, or less cared about in other libraries'.
What may appear today as a reductive choice, focused on localist historiography and without any concrete foresight regarding possible future external recipients, has over time proved to be a particularly effective and calibrated model of geographically-based acquisition determination, in harmony with the French model of regional studies. Its foundation is also linked to the particular period of development and enthusiasm for Renaissance studies preceding the centenary celebrations of the Unification of Italy. Over the years, the institution has expanded, and without interrupting the privileged line of topics, it has collected a vast bibliographic and archival material that in some cases (as in Marino Parenti's Collection) goes beyond the geographical limits determined at its origins. It has been open to the public since 20 May 1964. The institution's significance is testified by the close bonds it has built up since its beginnings with the university community in Turin, which also contributed directly to its creation thanks to the commitment of scholars such as Walter Maturi, Guido Quazza, Franco Venturi and Luigi Firpo.
The institution's significance is testified by the close bonds it has built up since its beginnings with the university community in Turin, which also contributed directly to its creation thanks to the commitment of scholars such as Walter Maturi, Guido Quazza, Franco Venturi and Luigi Firpo. The latter devised, among other things, the three-sided "Soggettario" (divided into persons, places and subjects) that has characterised the library since its origins, and that allows a more analytical approach to research topics.

The Library hinges with a non-local importance and unique characteristics in the Italian cultural system and represents an important point of reference for the world of research. The new perspectives today move in the direction of the digitalization of texts, currently in the experimental phase.
The heritage, transferred to the SBN computer system, can be consulted through "OPAC SBN", "Librinlinea" and the "CoBiS Linked Open Data" project (Coordination of special and specialist libraries in the Turin metropolitan area)

  • 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).