The Archive of Bologna’s Archdiocese was founded in 1573, when Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti (1566-1597) decided to build a big space inside the episcopal palace to preserve all the writings of his predecessors and his own. This first archive contained the cathedral’s records, the bishops’ private archives, the curia’s archives and all the documentation that was once stored in the offices of different curial notaries including pastoral visits, priest ordinations and other decrees. After Napoleon’s conquest of Bologna, it was Cardinal Carlo Opizzoni (1802-1855) who reorganised the diocese and its documentation; he gave Paleotti’s original archive the modern name of Archivio Generale Arcivescovile. Opizzoni built a new location for the archive inside the same palace, and decreed that all the documentation from ecclesiastic institutions, guilds and chapters that needed to be re-established after Napoleon’s rule was to be kept safe in the new location. He also decided to store additional archives that were of decreasing administrative importance in the diocese but which he considered to be of significant cultural and historic importance. These additional archives often contained the most antique records and documents of ecclesiastic history in Bologna. Opizzoni also created positions of trained archivists to organise and catalogue much of the documentation. In 1899, the Cardinal Domenico Svampa (1894-1907) appointed the canon Luigi Breventani the new archivist and decreed the archive open to the public. Don Augusto Macchiavelli lead the archive from 1929 to 1950, appointed by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Nasalli Rocca (1922-1952). He reorganised many of the most important archives and created much needed inventories for consultation. After 10 years of inactivity, in 1961 the archive changed locations yet again. It was transferred to its current position by order of Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro (1952-1968), and it was organised in the 8-floor metallic tower in the north-western part of the bishop’s palace by Dr. Mario Fanti, who led the organisation of the archive until 2012. Since 2013, Dr. don Riccardo Pane has been responsible for overseeing the Archive. He has brought many changes to the Archive’s operations, such as increasing the weekly public opening schedule from seven to twelve hours, making parts of the Archive available online, and acquiring modern technologies necessary to catalogue the Archive’s historical documents.
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