The Photographic Archive

Genoa Municipality Photographic Archive is the largest public collection of photographs of Liguria. It includes more than 200.000 images representing the artistic, economic, social life in Genoa and Liguria from the second half of the nineteenth century until the Second World War: not only artistic treasures and urban, architectural and landscape changes, but also ancient professions, the world of school, work and social gathering. The Archive, called Municipal Photographic Cabinet, was officially created in 1910. The aim assigned by the City Council was to document the development of public works and to reproduce every piece of art and historical documents.
In the 1920s, after a slowdown caused by the First World War, the activity expanded and included also the city events and ceremonies. That's why the archive constitutes a colorful collection of data and a rich iconographic source to recreate Genoa history also during the Fascist regime.
In the meantime the collections have been enriched, thanks to purchases and donations by the most significant photographers operating in Genoa since the mid-nineteenth century: the collection of the German photographer Alfred Noack is particularly relevant. In 1935 the Photographic Cabinet was first forced to slow down and then to interrupt its activity: it will restart during the reconstruction period,  with the name of Photographic Archive of the Fine Arts, as a support for historical-artistic studies. In 1978 the Municipality of Genoa purchased the collection of the photographer Erminio Cresta: about 44.000 negatives (plate or film) from 1920 to 1960. This collection represents a precious -still partially unexplored- source of information related to urban planning changes, schools, after-school and colonies, ships and industrial buildings, and, above all, the huge war damages suffered by civil and religious buildings after the bombings of the Second World War.

The photographic archive is open by appointment Contact: 010554962-3
Monday to Thursday 9-12 / 14-16.30 ; Friday 9-12