The archive of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, identified on 16 May 2012 as being of special historical importance by the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities, houses the documentary material relating to the construction of the Milan cathedral and the acts regarding bodies or persons who have come into contact with the Fabbrica del Duomo over more than six centuries of history, from 1387 to today: a precious lens through which we can read the history of the area.
The need for rationalised and precise conservation of this documentation has highlighted the commitment of the Fabbrica del Duomo since its inception, and has led to the implementation of a succession of different systems, starting from the end of the sixteenth century.
The first systematic arrangement of the archives was commissioned by the notary Giuseppe Maria Tarantola, who from 1742 to 1748 organised the archive papers into seventeen weighty tomes, ensuring that these were collected and recorded by chapter and paragraph, and accompanied by an index volume. Between 1879 and 1881, the administrator of the Fabbrica, Giuseppe Casanova, reorganised a section of the documents not recorded by Tarantola, while the final cataloguing of these historical sources was carried out between 1902 and 1908 by Ettore Verga. The last complete reorganisation of the storage archives was finally performed by Angelo Ciceri from the end of the '40s, and is still maintained today.
The archive, which is located inside the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo Palazzo della Cultura, will reopen with the grand inauguration of 4 November 2013, with all spaces completely renovated.
The archive consists of six main sections which are organised according to the types of activity which produced the documents: Historical archive, Storage archive, registry and mandates section, (Registers, Resolutions of the Chapter, Mandates and Miscellaneous) drawings section, musical section and photo library.
This archive holds an extensive collection of documents concerning the construction of the cathedral, the management of cathedral property, relations with the authorities, the workers who have been involved in construction projects, the Candoglia quarries, the Musical Chapel, the supply of materials, privileges, exemptions, the collection of duties of the Fabbrica, the active and passive proceeds derived from wills, donations and inheritance, linked possessions in the Province of Milan and in the Duchy, and possessions in Milan and in surrounding territories.
The Library is home to more than 9,000 volumes available for use.
THE ARCHIVE - FACTS AND FIGURES
- More than 500000 documents
- oldest document dates from 1145
- Made up of 1,700 files, continually enriched and updated
- Made up of 1773 files, from 1502 to 2010
- Made up of nearly 2,700 pieces, dating from 1356 to today
- Made up of more than 40,000 images, dating from the second half of the XIX century
- Made up of 55 large musical volumes and 461 files
- Chronological data: dating from around 1480, continually enriched and updated