THE STATE ARCHIVE OF VITERBO
THE STATE ARCHIVE OF VITERBO
Italy retains the world’s most important cultural patrimony and the preservation of this patrimony is responsibility of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture. The Archival Administration is responsible for the preservation of the Documentary Patrimony. In particular, the General Directorate for the Archives, a regional Superintendence for culture heritage and landscape, a network of State Archives, sections of the State Archives and the archival Superintendence can receive in deposit archives of public and private archives, and the documentation conserved. The comprising documents are approximately 1,200,000 scrolls and manuscripts, which we have found essays on medicine, philosophy, law, herbal, magic and literary works in Arabic, Greek, Latin and Italian, in addition to those still tied to various archival series and about eight million units between envelops, files, volumes and records totaling an incalculable amount of paper documents. The State Archives plays a prominent role in the preservation work and enhancing the documents they collect and preserve all the documents produced by the offices of the State before and after unification, in addition to concentrating the documents throughout the province over which they have jurisdiction in the same place. The State Archives of Viterbo, in addition to the documentation of the pre-unitary state since the Middle Ages, preserves the notarial archives prior to the last century and the archives of the religious corporations that were suppressed and had property confiscated by the state. In these documents is all the court and administrative documents that have been closed for more than forty years, and some private archives of households or businesses, in particular those with local roots. Very often the first time one uses the State Archives, they are confused and need to locate the archival tools needed to find the information stored in the archives. The main task of the study room’s officer is to provide the user with all the methodological information about and heritage preserved through the use of special software. It seems evident that the information can be a crucial part of speeding up the search and helping the user. For a long time it was decided to keep inventory on a computer and duplicating the heritage documents that are older and at a higher risk for loss. But one of the fundamental tasks of the State Archives and other all archives is to keep ‘containers of memories’ to promote the knowledge of history through reading the documents to younger generations, the Viterbo Archives have a successful mission of organizing the document exhibits and cultural events, and establishing an educational section that works closely with schools and spreads the heritage memory. The documents are catalogued by guides and inventory which are available to consult.
Translation by Michelle Greif, University of Iowa, enrolled in the USAC Viterbo program.