We meet Doc. Roberto Lorenzetti, Director of the Central Archive in Rieti for over thirty years. Roberto tell us his experience working as director of the Archive and a little bit more about his idea of conservation and preservation of the archives and what the long-term objectives are.
Francesca Marcaccio. Could you tell us a little bit about your background prior to your post as Director of the central Archive in Rieti?
Roberto Lorenzetti. Prior to assuming the leadership of the Archive, I worked as an archivist.I could have time for other activities related to my political commitment that led me to some administrative duties, the last of which was to Special Commissioner of a protected area. From this position I resigned once assumed the direction of the Archive.
F.M. An archive is the memory of a nation.The documentation heritage has great value and an inexhaustible wealth of sources and therefore must be protected even in view of a use for future generations. What are the tools that you think should be used to encourage the use and disclosure of the archives?
R.L. Hard to say what to do. Information technology and digitization certainly are helping us greatly; although an archive to be enjoyed and appreciated the most has to play an active role in the city. It is no longer justified to keep them apart waiting for someone expresses an interest for what we preserve. Promoting culture as we try to do in Rieti, it means generating a request for cultural events where the Archive can legitimately act as privileged interlocutor.
F.M. What do you think is the role of the archive in the contemporary panorama?
R.L. The Institutional Archives preserve the documents produced by the government: notarial acts, records and proceedings judgments, acts of the police and so on. All of which retain their legal value over time, and this is an essential value that is independent from the present and the future. Beside this value, an archive is a guardian of the historical memory of a territory. This function can be exercised in a variety of directions, from the purely institutional preservation and making available historical sources, to the promotion of initiatives related to the enhancement of historical funds kept interacting with the cultural needs of the city.
F.M. Do you believe or think that art school should promote a system of conservation and contemporary archiving in order to use it as a tool for the research of the future?
R.L. It would definitely be enhanced the knowledge of the Archive in our schools. In Rieti we organize workshops addressed to teachers to whom you give the tools to enjoy the Archive so that in turn they may be trainers of their own students. Especially for the historical exhibitions that we organize we invite and host local schools, and often we assist them in the drafting of specific path within their curriculum .
F.M. What do you think is the future of the Archive?
R.L. The future of the Archives is to perform to the best and play an increasingly active cultural role in the city in which it operates. There are the challenges that we need to deal with, first of all that the correct preservation of digital records, in a time when more and more documents are being produced in this form. The fast obsolescence of hardware and software only complicates enormously the problem.
F.M. Is there anything in the Central Archive in Rieti that is related specifically to our cultural heritage?
R.L. Many archival collections are used in the context of art history. In the notary deeds can be traced contracts with the artists of the past for the construction of the works. In ‘Riformanze’ (the old resolutions) we can traced down the agreements between the artists and the commissioners about specific works of art, as well as in the private archives of noble families where the records of accounts and correspondence, tell how they have commissioned paintings, sculptures and frescoes in their palaces. In Rieti we recently acquired the archive of Arduino Angelucci, a very good painter of the first half of the XX century.
F.M. Consequently the disposal of the provinces throughout Italy,many archives and libraries will be at risk after being already ‘strongly affected by drastic decreases in resources, from the block of turnover and the employment to the issue of the of space restriction for the archival heritage. What are your thoughts on these issues?
R.L. For the importance of their legal functions,these documents in the archive will need to be preserved and well stored somewhere safely. Sooner or later, those who continue to cut and block the turn-over, will have to deal with this issue. It’s clear that there will be the need to adopt new policies not so much for the archives as they are today,but for the documentation that the central and local offices will have to donate to the archives,accordingly with the law. In the next few years they will be us totally unprepared for the chronic shortages of space and staff.
There are thinking about the areas where store regional archives focusing specifically on that documentation. Another theory was to concentrating Central Archives together, but it seems not practical and this operation does not necessarily lead to save money. The suppression of the provinces is likely to clear the ideas to reduce the government presence on the territory. In theory, the suppression of a province should achieve the abolition of all institutions that until now have existed because of it: Prefecture, Police Headquarters, Provincial Commands of the police, finance, police, provincial accountancy and so on up to the Central Archives. For many circumstances that characterized Italy, this would be devastating. I think that also if the provinces will be removed , the central government will still guarantee a new facilities and services plan to help the territory.
This post is also available in: Italian