By Andrea Biondi (University of Florence), Doc. Francesca Gaggini (Responsible for the Archives and SDIAF Professional Organizer of the Municipality of Florence) and Doc. Giuseppe Cuscito (retired Archives Professional Organizer of the Municipality of Florence).
The Historical Archive of the Municipality of Florence is an Associate Partner for the Deep Cities project in Florence, Italy. During 2021, we carried out an important work of analysis, research and selection of archival material that was related to our study area of San Donato in Novoli in Florence. This commitment would certainly not have had the same results without the support and advice of the archive managers and staff. In particular we asked to Dr. Francesca Gaggini and to Dr. Giuseppe Cuscito to make a short overview on History, about the importance and the activities of the Historical Archive of the Municipality of Florence and in which way the institution can represent a fundamental partner for Deep Cities in Florence.
The Historical Archive of the Municipality of Florence preserves the documentation produced and received by the municipal administration since its establishment on November 20, 1781 at the behest of Grand Duke of Tuscany Pietro Leopoldo.
With an edict, it was established the Community of Florence which was entrusted with the local government, quite distinct from the central government of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. For a few years at the beginning of the 19th century, with the French domination, the Community was replaced by the Mairie de Florence and then, with the Unification of Italy, the Community merged into what is today the Municipality of Florence.
In 1976 the Florentine municipal administration established, in compliance with the provisions of the national legislation of 1963, its own historical archive in the noble Palazzo Bastogi, a few steps from the Duomo of Florence.
They were collected here documents scattered among various locations between Palazzo Vecchio, the Loggia del Porcellino and the Oblate complex. During the last years, the suppression of charities, schools, hospitals and theaters, have enriched the documentary heritage of the archive which has been reorganized and digitally inventoried with a database that is freely available online at the page Archinet. Today the database has 240,000 records with the description of cadastrial properties, series, archival units and it is enriched by about 50,000 images of prints, graphic drawings and technical drawings linked to their relative digital description. For users, is available an online procedure that allows them to receive support for their research from the archivists and also to reserve a seat in the consultation room.
The access to the documentation of the Archive is completely free and open. All this system is the result of an important digitalisation project started several years ago and still ongoing.
The preserved documentary heritage tells the Story of the city and of the people who live there and guarantees citizens the exercise of their rights in many areas: from personal services, to commerce, to mobility, to private construction, to education and culture and to urban planning. The institutional activities of the Historical Archive of the Municipality of Florence include heritage enhancement initiatives with meetings, publications, guided tours, thematic exhibitions also in collaboration with other institutions. It is in this area that the Archive has agreed to the proposal of the University of Florence to join the Curbatheri – Deep Cities project by making available its documents and the expertise of the staff.