The Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana came into being in 1935 following the incorporation of the Trivulzio collection into the pre-existing Archivio Storico Civico of Milan. Since then the Institute has been promoting, increasing and improving its collection of documents and books.

Currently, the Institute preserves over 1.300 manuscripts, 1.300 incunabula, 16.000 16th century publications and over 180.000 printed editions, while the document collection extends to approximately 1280 metres in length. To support the study of the collection and general research, access is provided to up to date bibliographical catalogues, manuals on philology, linguistics, palaeography, the history of Milan and the history of printing.

In addition, the Institute possesses an extensive collection of Italian and foreign journals, 150 of which are ongoing subscriptions.

Document collection

The Document collection houses the Municipality of Milan’s administrative documents, which it maintains in line with its institutional mandate as the historic archive for the city of Milan. In addition, the Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana also contains other documents that were either left to, donated to or acquired by the Institute. These include the collections of: Arrighetti, Barbò, Bardi, Crescini, D’Adda Salvaterra, Grossi, Lesca, Majnoni, Malvezzi, Manaresi, Morando, Motta, Rivolta, Sommi Picenardi, Visconti di Saliceto, as well as the impressive Bianconi and Gadda collections.

The Institute also holds six folders containing documentation relative to the Trivulzio family and the valuable Belgioioso collection (309 folders containing documents from the Belgioioso archive), which became the property of the Trivulzio family following the marriage between Gian Giacomo Trivulzio and Giulia Amalia Barbiano di Belgioioso in 1864, both of which passed to the City of Milan in 1935 together with the Trivulzio family’s book collection.

Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana’s precious collection of illuminated parchments are of great artistic and historic interest. 

Book Collection

The original nucleus of manuscripts belonging to the Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana is made up by the extremely valuable Trivulzio fund. This includes 1.188 manuscripts, 507 of which are medieval. The precious codices originally from the Trivulzio collection include Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebook (Cod. Triv. 2162) and the oldest dated and illuminated exemplar of Dante’s Divine Comedy (Cod. Triv. 1080). Along with the manuscripts, the Institute also lists among its possessions precious early printed books (including incunabula and 16th century editions) as well as modern publications. 

New collections of both manuscripts and printed tomes have been added to the original nucleus over the years via acquisition and donation. 

The New Acquisitions section contains manuscripts that were either donated to or acquired by the Institute after 1935. It currently conserves 65 manuscripts, 23 of which are medieval. Other collections that came into the possession of the Institute are: the library of baron Giuseppe Weil Weiss, known for its particularly precious and artistic bindings; the Morandi collection of esoteric texts; the collection of 19th and 20th century Italian literature formerly belonging to Giuseppe Lesca, as well as handwritten notebooks including works by Lesca himself and a considerable collection of letters by the intellectuals of his time; manuscripts, dossier and incunabula belonging to the Milanese journalist Cazzamini Mussi; the sizeable book collection donated by Domenico Rodella comprising a score of incunabula and around 50 16th century printed editions.

The Institute is enlarging its collection both through the acquisition of valuable material such as manuscripts and early printed editions and also by acquiring modern research publications.