Documento Del Mese Nov2016

A brief note in the files: one hundred years ago a request was made to save the drawings of the Duomo

The Document of the Month of November 2016

In the extremely interesting series entitled Lavori Duomo [Duomo Works] of the Veneranda Fabbrica Archives, the Annual reports of the unending works in progress at the Duomo since 1813 are preserved.

This is an extraordinarily interesting source because, looking at these reports, it is possible to reconstruct the precise chronology of the various renovations that, one by one, have been conducted on the statues, the spires, the flooring, and all else that the Veneranda Fabbrica to this day oversees at its various sites.

In addition to the actual reports, various other papers, letters, and notes have been preserved in the dossiers, each of which are of particular interest in and of themselves. Such is the case for the document that we are presenting this month, dated exactly one hundred years ago: 2 November 1916.

It is a short handwritten note by architect Zacchi (AD, Duomo Works, folder 105, dossier 7), in which the following is written: Given the terrible state of conservation of valuable drawings and designs pertaining to our renowned monument, I am requesting that the Board authorize not only that they be reorganized, but also that the necessary restorations be completed and to entrust the project to Felice Giannuzzi from the Ambrosiana Library, recommended by Mons. Ratti for his special skill in such projects.

The request was apparently presented the following day before the Board of Directors who, on 3 November 1916, officially granted the authorization sought by the architect. Once again, therefore, the Veneranda Fabbrica looked after its own patrimony of documents, trusting in the expert opinion of the future Pope Pius XI, just as it had done several years earlier in the restoration of the burnt remains of the records damaged in the fire of 1906.

One century later the Veneranda Fabbrica keeps the same commitment alive. In fact, on occasion of the total renovation of the Archives' storage rooms, even the largest drawings have found adequate storage in metal drawers within a climate controlled environment. The Polytechnic University of Milan, with a contribution from the Cariplo Foundation, has inserted the preserved drawings of the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo's Archives in the online catalogue which can be consulted at, introduced this past 21 June in the splendid Sala dei Milanesi.