The current embodiment of the Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana is the result of the acquisition by the City of Milan of the Trivulzio collection in 1935 and the decision to incorporate it into the pre-existing Historic Civic Archive in the rooms surrounding the Rocchetta Courtyard of the Sforza Castle. From that moment the two collections, whose genesis and development were completely unconnected, became inextricably linked.

In 1978 a restoration workshop for antique books, documents and bindings was created within the Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana allowing for timely and professional conservation interventions as well as systematic cycles of restorations guaranteeing the integrity of the archive and library.

Archivio Storico Civico 

Although depleted by the bombings of August 1943, the Archive still holds a sizeable collection of documents. The antique section contains the records of the Duchy and City of Milan from 1385, while the modern section is made up of material provided by the Archivio Civico of Milan until 1927. The archived material in holding arrived according to a subject based organisation adopted between the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century by the archivist Luca Peroni.

The manuscript collection of the Historic Civic Archive is housed in another area and conserves both codices already belonging to the Archive and other more recent acquisitions (such as the 20th century Emilio Seletti bequest), which came to the Institute from various sources. Currently the collection includes 56 manuscripts, 17 of which are medieval and four armorials from the 18th and 19th centuries. The archive material and manuscripts are available for consultation in the Girolamo Morpurgo room of the Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana. The Archive also contains a library specialised in the history of Milan and the area once controlled by the Duchy.

Biblioteca Trivulziana

One of the most renowned European private collections since the mid 18th century, the Biblioteca Trivulziana was acquired by the City of Milan in 1935 from Prince Luigi Alberico Trivulzio and incorporated into the pre-existing Archivio Storico Civico. Despite the transferral of most of the tomes and documents to the air-raid shelters of Sondalo in Valtellina and Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, for research purposes part of the collection remained in loco and were destroyed during the air-raids of August 1943. Currently the collection includes manuscripts, incunabula, 16th century publications, early printed as well as modern editions. The Trivulziana’s most antique codex dates back to the 8th century while the library’s most famous possession is the autographed notebook of Leonardo da Vinci. Particularly noteworthy is also a collection of manuscripts comprising Dante’s texts, including a codex of the Divine Comedy dating to 1337 and a precious 14th century manuscript of the De Vulgari Eloquentia, while among the incunabula there is a complete collection of the 15th century editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy.