Tiziano Terzani Archive

Photographic prints from the Archive © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Digital development of a photographic negative from the Archive © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Photographic negative from the Archive © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Photographic proofs from the Archive © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Photographic proofs from the Archive © Fondazione Giorgio Cini

2017 – 2022

Tiziano Terzani was an Italian journalist and writer. His extensive photo library, along with his personal and professional archive, are now online. Everyone can explore his travels and career by consulting his high-resolution photographs and documents, thanks to the IIIF technology.

the project

The Fondazione Cini Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities, entrusted with safeguarding Tiziano Terzani’s library and archive, has shown a steadfast commitment from the beginning to both preserve and disseminate these valuable sources. 

His writings, notes, press clippings, maps, photographs, and correspondences convey his vision of the world and can provide insights into the places and people he encountered.  

In particular, the photographic fund of the archive – consisting of negatives and positives shot by Terzani himself – serves as a visual testament to Terzani’s journalistic reportages and books, narrating the contemporary story of Asia and the world: the fall of Saigon and the Viet Cong, the fall of Phnom Penh and the reign of the Khmer Rouge, the cultural revolution of Maoist China, and the economic opening of Deng Xiaoping’s China…  

For this reason, the photographic prints have been primarily digitised by ARCHiVe, together with other delicate and relevant sources, prioritising unpublished documents, to preserve them digitally and make them accessible to the public. 

The team at Fondazione Cini, in collaboration with Terzani’s heirs, dedicated scholars and ARCHiVe, worked diligently on the reorganisation of the documents, defining the archival structure, creating an index, and completing the archival description of the documents. The result of this collaborative effort is an extensive digital archive where it is possible to explore Terzani’s career through his articles and pictures, map his travels through his documents, and delve into the stories he narrated. 

All this is now available online through an xml based platform. 


With the aim of using digitisation as a starting point for studying and enhancing these unique materials, the primary objective of the project was to make the sources available online. To achieve this, it was necessary to reorganise, secure, and digitally record the documents.

Some photo cards of Tiziano Terzani from his Archive, [1955 - 2004] © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
American postcards from Vietnam collected during the writing of the book "Leopard Skin", 1972-1973 © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Notebook with notes from the front, Saigon, 27 April - 4 May 1975 © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Draft cover of "Giai Phong!", White Lotus edition, 1997 © Fondazione Giorgio Cini


1. Preparation phase 

Following the archive donation, the Cini team, alongside Terzani’s heirs and dedicated scholars, meticulously examined the documents and planned a comprehensive reorganisation.

2. Establishing a digital archive

The ARCHiVe team, in collaboration with the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities, established an index and refined the archival structure. They constructed a web-based archive utilizing an open-source, native XML database (xDams). The restructuring of the archive and the development of consultation tools were informed by the interconnections and contents of the documents.

3. Recording of the documents

ARCHiVe digitised Terzani’s passports, the press accreditations (890 files) and the documents of the editorial project on Mao (274 files). Additionally, over 8,000 printed photographs, comprising the photographic fund, were recorded on both sides (totalling approximately 16,600 files), then segmented and post-processed using algorithms.

4. Dissemination

From 2022, the archive is now online and open to the public. The archival description will continue to be expanded to provide more detailed information and simplify the consultation. Ongoing efforts also include the digital archiving of materials stored on other media like floppy disks, VHS, and CDs.


The entire Tiziano Terzani archive held by the Fondazione Cini Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities is now accessible online. The celebrated reporter’s documents and thousands of photographs that he took during his countless long stays in Asia, can now be consulted on the Fondazione Giorgio Cini website. 



The Replica 360 Recto/Verso is a cutting edge recording system designed and realised by Factum Foundation. Its first prototype was conceived for Fondazione Cini back in 2015 for the Replica Project wh[...]

Reproduction Stand

The reproduction stand is a system for acquiring two-dimensional material in a small format (approx. 20x30 cm) created within Fondazione Cini. In response to the need to digitise photographic negat[...]

V Scanner

The V Scanner is a photographic set built within Fondazione Cini. Based on an open-access design and adapted to the needs of Cini's book collections, it is meant to acquire bound material quickly and [...]