Curated by Raffaelle Santoro, Paola Benussi, Andrea Pelizza
Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Art, Venice
December 2015 – January 2016
In 2015 the Archivio di Stato di Venezia (Venice State Archives) celebrated the important anniversary of two centuries since its foundation. What was then known as the “Archivio generale veneto” came into being by the sovereign decree of the emperor of Austria Franz Josef I dated 13 December 1815. Since then the archives have continuously fulfilled their function of conserving the documentary heritage of the Republic of Venice, the monasteries and convents suppressed in the Napoleonic period, the art and trade guilds and the schools of worship. The papers of the governments that succeeded one another in Veneto through to national unification were then gradually added, continuing to the present with the constantly increasing deposits from the offices of republican Italy. It also houses the fundamental notary archives, which conserve the deeds drawn up from the 12th century to the present day. The Archivio di Stato di Venezia is now one of the most important historical archives in the world, essential for reconstructing European and world events, and for this reason visited every day by dozens of scholars of all origins. Venetian Heritage helped organise this exhibition, in which a significant selection of the state archives’ vast and precious wealth was presented. The main themes of Venice’s millennial history were retraced from its origins to World War I through documents chosen for their relevance. The institutional structure of the Venetian state, its diplomatic relations with East and West, the management of its territories, its trading networks, its economic and productive fabric, its artistic and cultural world, the religious and welfare sphere, the transformations of the city and the reflections of politics through to the start of the 20th century were all traced diachronically, framed in a thematic grid that focused on the most significant moments.