38,000 monographs and over 100,000 magazines and reviews make the Museum’s library an excellent point of reference for the study of the history of cinema, of pre-cinema and of photography. The collections range from the generalized to the more specialized and, therefore, allow readers to deepen their knowledge of all aspects of the audio-visual world, including techniques, authors, protagonists, Hollywood styles, masterpieces and also lesser-known works.
The library was founded in 1960 and its contents are constantly updated by the acquisition of the most recent bibliographic material, both Italian and international. This growth is guaranteed by important donations offered by scholars and collectors.
The Library catalog is available online.
The Archaeology of Cinema
The Library has a precious range of books dedicated to the Archaeology of cinema, that is, the multifarious studies, experiments and shows that laid the foundations for the Seventh Art.
This collection is practically unique in Italy. Among the various titles kept here are rare volumes published between the 16th and 18th centuries, including important texts on optics and books that describe the action of such viewing machines as the camera obscura, magic lanterns and the Mondo Niovo.
This section features historical and critical writings, textual analyses, novels that have inspired films, biographies of directors and actors, film scripts, filmographies, bibliographies, technical manuals, photographic albums, dictionaries and encyclopedias, conference proceedings, degree theses, musical scores, comics, press books, Italian and foreign journals from every period and of every genre, exhibition and festival catalogs, etc. As well as documenting the history of cinema in its entirety, the library, for motives of tradition or as a result of donations, safeguards some rather specialized collections, for example the Ingmar Bergman fund (whose original nucleus was donated by Sergio Sablich) and the rich collection on Rudolph Valentino.
The Library has at its disposal a large amount of documentation that illustrates the origins and the historical development of photography in Italy and abroad. This set includes many original technical manuals which explain the art of posing and the processes of film developing and printing.
The collection dedicated to Piedmontese photography is particularly significant because it conserves, among other materials, the journals “La Fotografia Artistica” (Artistic Photography) and “Luci ed ombre” (Light and Shadow). These two magazines were important sources of information for photography critics and enthusiasts and greatly contributed to the spread of Italy’s pictorial style.
Also present are a number of elegant, illustrated volumes which follow the works of the great photographers of the twentieth century and a number of photographic periodicals which range from the origins of the art to the most recent developments in digital photography
The Mario Gromo Fund
The Library’s original nucleus of books comes from the private collection of Mario Gromo, noted press critic and co-founder of the Museum. The Library also conserves the articles and reviews published by Gromo during the course of his long career.
Reviews of Italian Silent Cinema
The Library holds a permanent fund of reviews and articles on Italian silent cinema; this collection is the second most important after that of the Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze (The National Library of Florence). It ranges from important newspapers (“La Vita Cinematografica,” “La Cinematografia Italiana ed Estera” etc.), to art reviews (“Apollon,” “L’arte muta,” “In penombra”) and popular periodicals (“Al cinema,” “Cinema Star,” “Cine Sorriso Illustrato,” etc.). The collection contains over 60,000 pages and will soon be completely available for viewing online.
Photo-strip stories are an important part of popular publishing and have been unjustly neglected in recent decades. They are a rather bizarre mix of cinema, photography and popular stories. The library safeguards a fund of over 4,000 photo-strip magazines, the only one of its kind in Italy. The collection ranges from the films in photo story format from the 1920s to the erotic photo-strip stories of the early 1970s.
Library / Mediatheque
Tel. +39 011 8138 599
Fax +39 011 8138 595
Tel. +39 011 8138 591
Fax +39 011 8138 595