Replica Project: building ARCHiVe

Replica table © Noemi La Pera
Replica flashes © Francesca Occhi
Replica aluminium structure © Francesca Occhi
ARCHiVe team using Replica © Joan Porcel

2015 – 2018

This project gave rise to ARCHiVe, marking the first collaborative effort among the three partner organizations (Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Factum Foundation, and EPFL DHLAB). It tested the synergy of these entities for the first time, setting an ambitious goal achievable only through the collective effort of all involved. 

The Project

The Fondazione Giorgio Cini preserves an extremely rich iconographic photo library, encompassing local and international art history, architecture, urbanism, and culture. It comprises approximately 730,000 photographic positives stored in the photo libraries of the Institute of Art History. 

The Replica project addresses two crucial issues: 

  • How to rapidly digitise this vast number of documents while preserving the original heritage and ensuring optimal technological accuracy. 
  • How to make the resulting database quickly searchable without the necessity of relying solely on textual search methods. 

To meet the first of these needs, Factum has specifically designed a circular scanner (Replica 360 recto/verso) for digitising the Historic Photo Library in the most efficient way possible. Additionally, Factum has equipped Replica with software that allows for the storage of data and metadata (such as the file and its archival position, ID number, and other essential details) during the digitisation process. In this manner, Fondazione Giorgio Cini has initiated the creation of an extensive database of images and information. This substantial volume of data is being stored and analysed by the Digital Humanities Lab at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. 

 In order to develop a geometrically-based search engine for this database, DHLAB team conducted their research focusing on recognising patterns of similarities in the pictures of the Historic Photo Library. DHLAB incorporated one of the most advanced technologies in artificial intelligence, known as ‘deep learning,’ into the process. By leveraging a vast network of artificial neurons, a capability only recently achievable in image processing, various forms of visual entities can be simultaneously analysed in a unified approach. 

In the realm of machine learning experimentation, DHLAB also devised an automatic segmentation process that separates text and images, subsequently annotating them. 

In fact, the Historic Photo Library comprises thousands of photographic positives dating from the beginning of the 20th century until the 90s, affixed to cardboards, with each displaying additional information such as the subject, location, date, and the artist of the depicted artwork. 


The aim of the project is the digitisation and enhancement of Fondazione Giorgio Cini Photo Libraries through innovative mass recording and analysis techniques.

The overarching objective is to enable the online availability of exceptionally large archives. The enhanced computational capacity, tailored to handle specific data, facilitates user searches at various, increasingly refined levels.



The Fondazione Cini conducted a comprehensive check and reordering of the documents stored in the photo libraries. The team subsequently created inventories and tools for metadata collection (thanks to an XML file system associated with the documents), and ID numbers were applied to the back of the positives or their supports.


The team at Factum developed the Scanner Replica 360 Recto/Verso, a unique recording system specifically designed for this project. The prototype of the system was conceived and constructed in Madrid, encompassing both hardware and software components, before being transported to and installed in Venice.


Fondazione Giorgio Cini formulated a dedicated digitisation workflow for the mass recording and storage project.

Within two years from the project’s initiation, the Cini team successfully accomplished the digital acquisition of the Historic Photo Library (671,564 images), the Bruno Alfieri Photo Library (2,073 images), and the Bernard Berenson Photo Library (30,275 images).


EPFL’s research led to the post-processing of the documents, which encompassed segmentation (utilising dhSegment, a segmentation library for complex documents developed at the DHLAB) and the storage of information present on each piece. Simultaneously, the team developed a geometrically based search engine for the established database.


The aim of Fondazione Giorgio Cini is to proceed with the project by digitising the additional photo libraries stored in the Biblioteca Manica Lunga and to make this heritage accessible online.



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[...]

Heritage Lab Italgas

Historical images from the photo archives © Italgas
Historical images from the photo archives © Italgas
Historical images from the photo archives © Italgas
Historical images from the photo archives © Italgas
Historical images from the photo archives © Italgas

Heritage Lab is the Italgas museum-laboratory born to digitize the company’s historical heritage and make the most of the narrative potential of its officially recognised archive through continuous exchanges with local, national and international partners, and as part of the vast European Time Machine consortium network.

the project

The Italgas Historical Archive is an ever-growing patrimony, the study of which makes it possible to reconstruct not only the history of the Company and the people who worked there, but above all the links with the main events of the country and with the world of energy, the role Italgas played in the process of industrialization of Italy, urban development and public services. ARCHiVe carried out the project pre-study and drafting, in synergy with other project partners.

Today, Italgas Historical Archive consists of an original nucleus of more than 1,000 linear meters of documents, 6,000 volumes, pamphlets and magazines, 35,000 prints, photographs and posters, 350 vintage equipment and instruments declared of considerable historical interest by the Italian State and subject to notification and conservation restraint.

The Heritage Lab © Italgas
The Heritage Lab © Italgas
The Heritage Lab © Italgas
The Heritage Lab © Italgas
The Heritage Lab © Italgas
The Heritage Lab © Italgas


Collaboration between ARCHiVe and Heritage Lab also takes place in the field of training for operators, involved in the photographic acquisition and description of archives.
Recently, cataloguing and enhancement processes have also begun for the Italgas library, that represents the result of acquisitions and donations over the years.

Finally, in the last year, two training and information events were held within AOA (ARCHiVe Online Academy), with the aim of conveying, to a public not exclusively specialised, the results achieved with a view to a general valorisation of business archives.

Dante 1491

Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia, Venezia: Benali & Capcasa, 1491 © Joan Porcel
Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia, Venezia: Benali & Capcasa, 1491 © Joan Porcel
First illustrated editions © Joan Porcel

2022 – 2023

The Dante 1491 project examines the surviving copies of the first illustrated Venetian edition of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, printed on 3 March 1491 by the printers Bernardino Benali and Matteo Capcasa.


  • Martyna Grzesiak | University of Oxford
  • Ilenia Maschietto | Fondazione Giorgio Cini

The project

The Dante 1491 project, born within a collaboration with CERL (Consortium European Research Libraries), follows the operational method implemented for the Dante 1481 project.

Following a survey of data available in online and printed catalogues and the verification of the presence of the Divine Comedy of March 1491 in the libraries and cultural institutions surveyed, a letter was sent to the librarians of the rare book collections, together with a form with precise fields to be filled in to collect detailed information about each copy.

Coats of arms, decorations, bindings, ex-libris, stamps, manuscript notes, early shelfmarks: these and other elements, if well analysed, provide valuable information on the previous owners of a given volume and can recount some moments of the journey that that book has travelled, starting from Venice, when it was printed in 1491, to be read and continue its existence in another part of the world, to the library that preserves it today.

The data collected have been included in two digital projects, MEI (Material Evidence in Incunabula) and PDA (Provenance Digital Archive): one collects information on the use and provenance of incunabula in a structured and orderly manner, identifying the previous owners or locating them as precisely as possible in time and space; the second collects and publishes images of signs (such as bindings, ex-libris, manuscript notes…) that testify the use or possession of a volume.

Among the results obtained, the interactive map proposed on this page, which illustrates the current distribution of single copies; for each of them the link to the corresponding record in the MEI database has been created.


The overall aim of the project is to systematically collect specific data on the signs of use and ownership present in each copy surveyed in the catalogues, helping to describe who Dante’s readers were over the last five centuries.

First illustrated editions

Since the introduction of movable type, various attempts have been made to present Dante’s poem to the public, with the text accompanied by illustrations.

The first example is the Florentine edition printed in 1481 (see Dante 1481 Project) for which a complete set of illustrations was planned. It consists of a copperplate engraving for each canto, printed separately on sheets to be inserted at a later date (with the exception of the first two cantos where the image was printed together with the text). In reality, due to various complications, the iconographic cycle was interrupted at canto 19 of the Inferno; only one of the copies surviving today presents all the 19 images (John Rylands University Library).

In 1487, a second attempt was made in Brescia by the printer Bonino Bonini; in this case, the result led to an iconographic set of woodcuts up to Canto I of Paradise where it was interrupted.

In Venice, which was already asserting itself on the European scene as the capital of printing with movable type, two editions of the Divine Comedy were printed in 1491, the first ever fully illustrated, one by the printers Bernardino Benali and Matteo Capcasa (3 March 1491), and one by Piero de’ Piasi, signed in the colophon on 18 November 1491.

The Benali-Capcasa edition

The comparison of the colophon page sent by the libraries participating in the project made it possible to verify (as already reported by the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke) the existence of 3 colophon variants for the Benali-Capcasa edition (ISTC id00032000 – GW 7969); all three inform that the work was “reuista & emendata diligentemente” by the Franciscan friar Pietro da Figino. In the second variant it is added that Figino himself places in the margin “tutte le historie notande & li nomi proprii che si trouano in ditta opera fornita de stampar del .MCCCCLXXXXI. adi .iii. marzo”. This specification is also reiterated in the third variant which however ends with the expression “che si trouano in ditta opera del .MCCCCLXXXXI. adi .iii. marzo”. Thanks to this census it was possible to attribute to each copy its precise variant of the colophon and it was possible to deduce that the third draft of the colophon is very rare indeed (currently only 3 copies).

Colophon variant 1
Colophon variant 2

100 woodcuts

Benali and Capcasa are thus the first to use a complete iconographic cycle, which Lilian Armstrong (1936-2021), authoritative scholar of illuminated manuscripts and early Italian printed books, called a ‘masterpiece of 15th-century Venetian printing’. The results of this project are dedicated to her.

The drawings of the 100 woodcuts accompanying the text have long been attributed to the Maestro di Pico, a miniaturist and designer active in Venice in the second half of the fifteenth century. Three full-page engravings are made for the first canto of each cantica and 97 more or less square-shaped vignettes for all the other cantos.
You can view the entire woodcut cycle in detail through the viewer below.


Capcasa's Will

At the State Archive in Venice, in the archival fund “Cancelleria inferiore” in the series “Miscellanea notai diversi”, folder no. 28 contains the will of Matteo Capcasa, a printer from Parma who, in partnership with Bernardino Benali, printed numerous editions in Venice, including the March 1491 Divine Comedy.

Thanks to this important document, dated 12 August 1491, we can learn a great deal of information; thanks to the accuracy of the text, we know that 1,504 copies of the Divine Comedy, came out of their presses (text line no. 29). Thus, the 113 surviving copies covered by this census represent 7.5% of the entire production.

For the transcription, edited by Franco Rossi and Eurigio Tonetti, see the Documents section below.

Capcasa's will, recto. Credits Archivio di Stato di Venezia
Capcasa's will, verso. Credits Archivio di Stato di Venezia

Dante's readers

Hundreds of signs of use and traces of hundreds of former owners were found on the 113 copies analysed on the occasion of this illustrated census.

The oldest one recorded refers to the copy conserved at the Ente Olivieri – Biblioteca e Musei Oliveriani in Pesaro (MEI 02149032). It bears the handwritten note of an owner, identifiable with Alessandro Veterani (c. 1460 -1513), a doctor from Urbino who was even famous in his profession abroad. The note states that the book was purchased by Veterani for 5 carloni (currency in use) on 17 September 1491 at the Recanati fair.

Family arms in gold (Biblioteca della Fondazione Giorgio Cini - Venice - IT)
Ex libris with noble coat of arms (Vatican Apostolic Library - Vatican City)
Notes of use (Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal - Lisbon - PT)
Old shelfmark on the back (Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria - Turin - IT)
Initial with illuminated decoration (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana - Vatican City)
Possession note by a contemporary hand (Biblioteca e Musei Oliveriani - Pesaro - IT)


A first important result of this project is the digitisation of the copy of Dante preserved by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, now available in its Digital Library.
The second result is an interactive map of all the surveyed copies that allows for the visualisation of the edition’s distribution across the planet. Approximately, 80% of the copies are in libraries and institutions in Europe and the remaining 20% in the United States; only 2 copies are to be found in Japan.
The third result is the updating of databases with formalized and reusable data.

(M. Grzesiak – I. Maschietto, Il progetto “Dante 1491” alla Fondazione Giorgio Cini. Un censimento illustrato degli esemplari superstiti in “Dante, com’era nel 1472 (e come si lesse da allora). Prime edizioni, incunaboli, post-incunaboli e altro”, a cura di F. Ciabattoni e A. Scarsella, Venezia 2023)

Digitisation Project

The Fondazione Giorgio Cini holds a copy of the Divine Comedy dated March 1491. The copy was part of the library of Prince d’Essling (1836-1910), a famous French collector and scholar of illustrated editions, whose arms are gilded on the boards. The late 19th-century brown morocco binding is signed by the Parisian bookbinder Joly.

Unfortunately, this particularly invasive restoration work by Joly has led to the current situation, where the volume cannot be opened beyond a 90-degree angle and where, especially in the central part of the volume, the text near the inner margins is partly unreadable due to the very tight 19th-century rebinding.

Once it became clear that traditional techniques would only allow for imaging with partial loss of the text, the option of using a 17 mm off-centre lens was considered. The short focal length of the lens made it possible to get closer to the book while maintaining a sufficiently wide shooting angle, while the off-centre lens allowed the camera body to be positioned closer to the outer edge of the page but still parallel to it, capturing every millimetre of the inner margin with the furthest part of the circle of coverage.

The results of the digitisation, post-production and metadata processes can be viewed in Fondazione Giorgio Cini’s Digital Library.

Open book view © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Photographic set © Francesca Occhi
Photographic capture process © Francesca Occhi
Handling the book © Francesca Occhi


By approaching each pointer, it will be possible to consult the detailed record of the volume published in the MEI database (Material Evidence in Incunabula) and find out who has read Dante from each specific copy during the last five centuries.


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[...]

Aesop’s Fables: restoration and digitisation of a unique copy

Aesop's Fables, Venice, Bernardino Benali, c. 1490 © Noemi La Pera
The rediscovered page © Noemi La Pera
Presentation of the found page and its exact position © Matteo De Fina
The opening of the volume before restoration © Noemi La Pera


The Fondazione Giorgio Cini library holds the world’s only copy of an illustrated edition of Aesop’s Fables, printed in Venice in the late 15th century. The project aimed to insert a rediscovered page in its correct original position in the book.

the project

The Fondazione Giorgio Cini library holds the world’s only copy of an illustrated edition of Aesop’s Fables, printed in Venice in the late 15th century. Having entered the library in 1962 together with the collection of Tammaro De Marinis (1878-1969), the Fables had been part of the collection of Charles Butler (1821-1910), whose library was sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge in London in April 1911.

The scholar and previous owner, Tammaro De Marinis, had described the unique copy of the Aesop in 1940, in his publication Appunti e ricerche bibliografiche (Milan, Hoepli); here we can learn that already in 1940 unfortunately, several pages of the book were missing.

In 2019, at a Florentine auction house, within a heterogeneous lot with De Marinis provenance, a page of the Venetian incunabulum was found, probably kept separately by the owner, and re-emerged on the market almost 60 years after its donation (1962). Thanks to a generous contribution, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini library came into possession of the rediscovered page and a conservative restoration project was drafted, approved, financed, and implemented. The project aimed to insert the rediscovered page in its correct original position and make the digitisation of the book available online.


After analyzing the copy and the edition, the project aimed to insert the rediscovered paper in its correct original position in the book making an accurate photographic documentation of it, restore the volume, digitise it and then publish it online.


Since the book is the only surviving copy of this particular edition from about 1490, no direct comparison with a similar copy could be made to see where to insert the page (the book has no signature to indicate the proper sequence). After a very thorough analysis of the text, the restoration project was supported by the Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige Archival and Bibliographic Superintendency and completed in November 2021.
The restoration process initially involved the complete removal of the block of pages from the binding and its 19th-century stitching. The pages were restored by removing additions made in previous repairs with materials that had darkened over time, causing further stains. In the end, the booklets were stitched up using the same holes of the previous binding and the book is once again available to readers.

Detaching the binding © Noemi La Pera
Removal of previous restorations © Noemi La Pera
Removal of stains © Noemi La Pera
Stitching of the booklets © Noemi La Pera
The finished stitching © Noemi La Pera
The book under press © Noemi La Pera


The book was digitised by ARCHiVe team using high-resolution colour photography. Given the rare opportunity of having the pages and booklets of an antique book unbound for a while, photographic documentation was also carried out, including with transmitted lighting, so that a comparative analysis of the restored unbound bifolios could be conducted.
This brought out the watermarks of the paper that were compared and, in part, identified thanks to the repertories (Briquet 758 and 3442).  Thanks to the high-resolution photographs, other material aspects were revealed and helped to provide further information about the unique artefact.
The restored book ready for digitisation © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Photographic acquisition phase © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Photographic documentation of the paper © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Photographic documentation of the watermark with transmitted light © Fondazione Giorgio Cini


The results of the restoration project and digitization allowed a very in-depth analysis of the entire volume, leading to new information on this unique copy in the world.
This unique copy of the Aesop’s Fables is available in the Fondazione Giorgio Cini’s Digital Library.


  • Esopo. Una favola ritrovata / Aesop. A rediscovered Fable, in Lettera da San Giorgio, N. 46 (2022), pp. 56-61.
  • L’Esopo di De Marinis. L’esemplare unico, la carta ritrovata, il restauro, in ‘Multa renascentur’ : Tammaro De Marinis studioso, bibliofilo, antiquario, collezionista, Venezia, Marsilio 2023.


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[...]

Ulderico Rolandi Collection

Digitisation process of Rolandi's librettos © Noemi La Pera
Example of digitisation © Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Digitisation process of Rolandi's librettos © Noemi La Pera
Digitisation process of Rolandi's librettos with V Scanner © Noemi La Pera

2018 – Ongoing

In 1893 Rolandi bought a small group of librettos, which formed the basis of a vast collection that he continued to add to until his death: a total of about 21,500 printed, manuscript or typescript librettos from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and various special editions. Objectives of this project are digitisation, archival description, and online publication of opera librettos.

current équipe

  • Cristian Bacchi | Fondazione Giorgio Cini
  • Ilenia Maschietto | Fondazione Giorgio Cini
  • Marianna Zannoni | Fondazione Giorgio Cini

the project

Ulderico Rolandi (Roma, 23/07/1874 – 03/12/1951) was a gynaecologist by profession, but also a critic and collector, who was actively involved in music studies. In 1893, Rolandi bought a small nucleus of opera librettos, which formed the core of his vast collection, which he increased until his death to about 21,500 examples, printed, manuscript and typescript. It consists of 16th-century librettos, librettos from the 17th to 19th century, special editions (librettos belonging to sovereigns, special formats, librettos written for theatre openings, censorships written by police and prefectures, bilingual volumes and ballet librettos). The Rolandi collection also includes a collection of musical scores and papers, musicology volumes, study materials, press reviews in the field of interest and theatrical iconographic material.

Over the years, the librettos collection has been the subject of various enhancement projects. From the 1970s until 1986 there was a collaboration with the Enciclopedia Italiana, founded by Giovanni Treccani. The project aimed to catalogue the entire collection and publish the catalogue in several volumes. Only a specimen of the first volume was published in 1986, and no others followed. From 1987 to 1990 with A.CO.M. (Archivio Computerizzato Musicale Veneto) project, a special database was created to catalogue librettos. At the end of the project, the collection was almost entirely catalogued and all the records produced were subsequently transferred to the Catalogue of the National Library Service (OPAC SBN). From 2005 to 2008, the Echo Project was carried out, whose aim was to digitise the entire collection and reclaim all the A.CO.M. records on the SBN OPAC. At the end of the project, 1119 booklets were digitised and most of the SBN records were reclaimed.


Objectives of this project are digitisation, archival description, and online publication of opera librettos.


1. Preliminary study

In the first phase, from June to July 2018, the archival history of the Rolandi collection, its formation and evolution, its donation to the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and subsequent enhancement projects were studied by the team.

2. Digitisation

Digitisation of librettos with V Scanner (ongoing, stopped in 2020). A beta version of a digital tool to facilitate the recording of the librettos and the automatic extraction of data from the files was developed and tested (ScanApp).

3. Description and creation of consultation tools

At the same time as digitization operations, the pre-existing inventory could be integrated with data on location, updated inventory numbers, description and SBN bid, state of preservation, presence of figured frontis, and/or illustrations.

4. Dissemination

Publications of librettos online on Cini’s Digital Library and inking of the digital images on the National Catalog OPAC SBN: this phase is partially completed.


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 [...]

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 [...]

Seguso Vetri d’Arte Archive

© Fondazione Giorgio Cini
© Fondazione Giorgio Cini
© Fondazione Giorgio Cini
© Fondazione Giorgio Cini
© Fondazione Giorgio Cini

2018 – 2023

Centro Studi del Vetro and ARCHiVe worked together on digitising and publishing online the entire Seguso Vetri d’Arte Archive, which contains thousands of projects attesting to the varied production of the artists and designers who collaborated with the glassworks from 1932 to 1973.

The project

The historic Seguso forge became a company in 1933, during a period of great innovation and manufacturing planning. During this period, in addition to artistic production, activities related to architectural projects also took off, both in the field of lighting and furnishing; glassworks became internationally recognised in the panorama of contemporary art. The Seguso Archive, arrived in 2012 to the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and destined for the Centro Studi del Vetro, contains thousands of projects attesting to the varied production of the artists and designers who collaborated with the glassworks from 1932 to 1973.
The acquired corpus consists of 22,044 executive drawings and sketches, 25,296 photographs and about thirty production catalogues divided between Showroom catalogues (7 volumes, 1939-1971) with drawings of individual hand-made models, Lighting production catalogues (19 volumes) and Barbier order catalogues (5 volumes).


The digitisation and cataloging project of the Seguso Vetri d’Arte Archive aims to enhance the documentary heritage, scientific research and dissemination of materials, thus meeting the criteria of consultation and preservation of original materials. Objectives of the project are also archival description and online publication of the archive.


1. Material analysis

Material analysis and creation of archival structure and first description

2. reorganisation

Photographic positives on paper: reorganisation

3. labelling

Drawings: cleaning, securing, conditioning and labelling

4. Digitization

Digitization of the entire Archive. 13,311 printed photographs digitised recto/verso for a total of 26,622 files, 22,479 large format drawings digitised double-sided for a total of 44,958 files and 255 very large format drawings (up to 4 metres) digitised recto/verso for a total of 510 files (100%) segmented with algorithms

5. Import

Import of data descriptions, metadata and digital images, solution of visualization problems

6. Automatic post production

Automatic post production of the series Illuminazione and Progetti Speciali: ARCHiVe created a new script for automatic post production based on this new dataset and it was launched in July 2022. This step comprehends the export in .jpg for the upload on the cataloging system (xDams) and the extraction of information such as the dimension of the document digitized

© Fondazione Giorgio Cini
© Fondazione Giorgio Cini
© Fondazione Giorgio Cini
© Fondazione Giorgio Cini


Vacuum Table

The vacuum table is a system for acquiring two-dimensional documents. Created within Fondazione Cini, gives a response to the need to digitise large-format documents, delicate, creased or folded. The [...]