Research database

non dichiarato - Crafted in Stone and Recorded on Paper: The Architectural and Archival Heritage of the Smaller Italian Municipalities (12th-20th Centuries). Historical Research and Digital Enhancement.

24 months (2025)
Principal investigator(s):
Project type:
Nationally funded research - PRIN
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Project identification number:
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Italian municipalities are keepers of a vast building heritage, the result of centuries of history. Since the end of the 12th century, communal governments have built, transformed, and preserved a rich landscape of public architecture. Through perseverance and adaptability, communal institutions projected themselves in building programs conducted in different timescales. Communal governments created complex structures to finance and control the construction of these buildings: thus, the processes related to the physical dimension of architecture have intersected with the development of bureaucratic procedures for managing public heritage. Both have resulted in the production of a vast heritage of documents aimed at guaranteeing the legitimacy of technical and creative processes: for centuries, administrations and citizens alike identified themselves with the construction of the civic palace and the establishment of the communal archives. This research project tackles these two aspects (a history that is both ‘crafted in stone’ and ‘recorded on paper’) with the aim to understand and promote buildings and documentary deposits that can describe and make sharable histories linked to the culture of 'good government' of Italian cities. Carried out by five Units, the research will focus on the analysis of the so-called ‘centri minori’ by considering paradigmatic geographies in the history of north-central Italy. The starting point is the historiographical definition of ‘quasi-città’ (Chittolini 1990), from here the research project will turn towards the so-called ‘aree interne’ or areas that have been marginalized in the wake of more recent settlement phenomena. The five Units will identify documents that help interpret, decode, and describe the heritage of built and common areas (squares, streets, etc.) of several case studies. The project involves the building of a geo-referenced database, which will be the main working tool, as well as one of the most significant research outputs: the data on both 'stone' and 'paper' construction sites will become a common heritage, contributing to a greater awareness of complex historical processes and a stronger cohesion in civil society. The project will enable the digitization of a selection of neglected or endangered documents. To such an end, the framework of the ‘PND del patrimonio culturale’ will be considered fundamental. The project also envisages the organization of public discussions aimed at opening a debate in the scientific community while strengthening the interdisciplinary character of the research, involving local authorities, archives and Soprintendenze. The final objective of the project, in addition to the publication of a volume and monographic essays in Open Access, is to pour its results into a website that will become a reference point for a wide and varied public, providing knowledge that can open new perspectives on the study and management of Italy's cultural heritage.





ERC sectors

SH5_6 - History of art and architecture, arts-based research

Sustainable Development Goals

Obiettivo 11. Rendere le città e gli insediamenti umani inclusivi, sicuri, duraturi e sostenibili


Total cost: € 295,476.00
Total contribution: € 230,641.00
PoliTo total cost: € 30,746.00
PoliTo contribution: € 24,000.00