Brignole Sale - De Ferrari Archive

Brignole Sale - De Ferrari Archive (15TH-19TH CENTURY)

The Civic Historical Archive holds a private collection comprising documents of the Brignole-Sale and De Ferrari families, and to a lesser extent the De Franchi and Negrone families, given over to the City in 1927 by the heirs of Filippo De Ferrari, son of the Duchess of Galliera, the generous donor in life and death of Palazzo Rosso, with its priceless picture gallery and extensive library (1874), and of Palazzo Bianco (1888).

The donation of the archive was, however, subject to a restrictive clause: “that the papers entrusted to the City remain absolutely private”, which for a long time prevented their consultation.

After Caterina Marcenaro, director of the Service for Antiquities, Fine Arts and History, used some of these invaluable documents for the restoration of Palazzo Rosso (1962), in 1974 the Soprintendenza Archivistica (Archival Office) granted access for researchers to consult the account books of the 15th-18th century. On the first centenary of the death of Maria Brignole Sale, widow of Raffaele De Ferrari, Duke of Galliera, the civic administration decided to mark the occasion with an international conference of scholars, intended to demonstrate the key role these two figures played in the European society and economy of the time.

The event marked the start of the reorganisation of the Brignole Sale and De Ferrari archives and the writing out of the relative inventories, in order to allow scholars to study them.

In addition to the archival collection there is a set of 384 manuscripts from the “Brignole Sale De Ferrari Library”, named so according to the wishes of Maria Brignole Sale De Ferrari Duchess of Galliera, who in 1874 donated it to the City of Genoa together with the art collections within the Palazzo Brignole Sale (Palazzo Rosso)

The bulk of the library (around 16,000 volumes) is now preserved in the Conservation Section of the Berio Civic Library.