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Historical Archive

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The Historical Archive of the Marco Besso Foundation includes both the personal and institutional funds of Marco Besso and preserves, by donation, funds of people whose life and activities have over time been linked to that of the Foundation itself.

Following the general scientific reorganization, a title book consisting of fourteen titles was generated in 2010 which made it possible to organize the entire archival heritage as follows: Title I "Marco Besso" was entirely dedicated to the founder, therefore it is a closed title.

It brings together the personal documentation of Marco Besso

before and after the foundation of the Foundation.

It is divided into 4 parts:

1) Letters of Marco Besso, ordered, inventoried by Gaetana Scano and notified by the Archival Superintendency of Lazio as an archive of considerable historical interest.

2) Epistolary of letters ordered by correspondent in alphabetical order.

3) Epistolary of letters sent to each other by various family members before the death of Marco Besso.

4) Loose cards.


Titles from II to XIII instead group together the institutional documentation,

while the Tit. XIV includes the "Attached Archives".


Tit. II "Constitution and history of the Foundation".
Tit. III "Board of Directors".
Tit. IV "Correspondence".
Tit. V "Administration".
Tit. VI "Practical School for Electricians".
Tit. VII “Besso Palace and Tombs”.
Tit. VIII "Library".
Tit. IX "Publishing activity".
Tit. X "Cultural events".
Tit. XI "Contributions".
Tit. XII "Ernesta Besso Foundation".
Tit. XIII "Special funds".
Tit. XIV "Attached archives".

Title XIV "Archives annexed" includes the documentation of a family fund (Maurogonato 1463-1786), of various personal funds mostly produced by the members of the Besso and Lumbroso family.

Their conservation derives from acts of donation.

Maurogonato Fund

The Maurogonato Fund consists of n. 45 documents over a period of three centuries, between 1463 and 1786, of which 35 parchment and 10 paper, ordered, numbered in progressive chronological order and recorded by Gaetana Scano. Two of them are in Hebrew. This Venetian family, whose best-known exponents were surgeons, graduates from the Paduan university, working in the service of the Serenissima, especially at the garrison in the Levant islands, had exceptional privileges for its merits.

This Fund is kept in the Historical Archive of the Marco Besso Foundation as it is linked to the figure of the distinguished Venetian patriot and economist Isacco Pesaro Maurogonato born on November 26, 1817, from whose marriage, in 1850, with Betty Ascoli, was born in 1854, Ernesta, wife of Marco Besso.

Ernesta Besso Pesaro Maurogonato Fund

Ernesta Pesaro Maurogonato was born in 1854 to Isacco Pesaro Maurogonato and Betty Ascoli and died in 1914 in her Roman home. In 1874 he married Marco Besso from whose marriage Lia and Salvatore were born.

The Fund collects the correspondence sent by his son Salvatore during his travels, the correspondence received from relatives, friends and acquaintances following the untimely death of his son, obituaries and the preparatory material for the volume Siam and China published after Salvatore's death.

The documentation is unordered.

Lia Fund (Natalia) Lumbroso Besso

Lia (Natalia) Besso, Marco Besso's eldest daughter, was born in 1875 and died in 1947. At twenty-two, in 1897 she married Alberto Emanuele Lumbroso from whose marriage Maria Letizia (1898) was born,

Ortensia (1901), and Giacomo (1912-1987).

He dedicated himself to developing the activity of the Ernesta Besso Foundation, created by Marco in 1914 in memory of his deceased wife, which aims to be a cultural meeting point for teachers.

The Fund collects both private correspondence and correspondence linked to the activity of the Ernesta Foundation during the years in which Lia Besso is its President.

The documentation is unordered.

Salvatore Besso Fund

Salvatore Besso, second son of Marco Besso, was born in 1884 and died in 1912. He was a writer and correspondent abroad for the two Roman magazines: the "Rivista di Roma" and "La Tribuna".

The Fund, organized and available for consultation with a paper and computerized inventory, edited by Romina De Vizio, collects personal documents, correspondence received from parents, relatives, friends and colleagues, handwritten notes,

material for publications and travel.

For consultation, please note that the numbering of the issues is progressive and not closed

within each series.

Consult the on-line inventory >>

Giacomo Lumbroso Fund

Giacomo Lumbroso, born in Bardo di Tunisi in 1844 and died in Santa Margherita Ligure in 1925, was an expert in Hellenistic antiquity, papyrology and epigraphy. However, his erudition and cultural variety led him to deal also with subjects that were beyond his specific skills: Roman law, ancient and modern history, history of religions and folklore. At the age of twenty he became the “favorite” [1] of the historian and epigraphist Theodor Mommsen, but also a close friend of the anthropologist Giuseppe Pitre and the Egyptologist Evaristo Breccia.

The Fund collects the correspondence received from Giacomo Lumbroso ordered in chronological order by correspondent and conditioned in special hammocks by Matizia Maroni Lumbroso and Giovanna Scotto and his study material.

This Fund is kept in the Historical Archive of the Marco Besso Foundation as it is linked to the figure of Alberto Lumbroso, her son, husband of Marco Besso's eldest daughter, Lia.

Alberto Lumbroso Fund

Alberto Lumbroso, born in 1872 by Giacomo Lumbroso and Maria Esmeralda Todros, married Lia Besso in 1897, died in 1942. He was historian, publicist and director of two magazines he founded: "La Revue napoléonienne" and "Rivista di Roma".

The Fund is kept in the Historical Archive of the Marco Besso Foundation

by express will of the Lumbroso family.

The Correspondence Series consists of about 10,000 documents collected by Alberto Lumbroso's daughter, Matizia (Maria Letizia), in personal files arranged alphabetically by correspondent or sender; in fact, autographed documents of well-known and lesser-known personalities from a probable collection of autographs, very popular at the time, and documents relating to the three strands of historical interest to which Lumbroso dedicated most of his essays are also preserved: Napoleon I and the Napoleonids, the Italian Risorgimento, the First World War.

The documentation relating to the Series has been the subject of a new computerized filing by Stefania Glori and can therefore be consulted online.

This new index almost entirely respects the order that Matizia Maroni Lumbroso gave of the paternal papers, while the records are more analytical, historically outlined and accompanied by archival and content notes.

Consult the Correspondence Series online >>

Fondo Maria Letizia (Matizia) Maroni Lumbroso

Maria Letizia (Matizia) Lumbroso, born in 1898 and died in 1977, is the eldest daughter of Lia Besso and Alberto Lumbroso. He was President of the Ernesta Besso Foundation for thirty years. An attentive Romanist scholar explored the little things that are part of everyday life and street furniture by publishing various books on the subject including: Roma trampled (1976), Roma al microscope (1968), The Age of the Horse (1977), enriched from the precious drawings of Orseolo Torossi. Also worth noting: The Roman brotherhoods in their churches of 1963 edited with Antonio Martini preceded by: In Rome looking for saints of 1958.

The contact with the school and with the innovative ferments in teaching push Matizia to take care of the "publication of children's research on topics" [2] such as "chants, nursery rhymes and count, proverbs, games, cooking recipes" [3] : Conte , chants and nursery rhymes described and illustrated by children (1965), The importance of the room in regional dishes described and illustrated by children (1966), Games described and illustrated by children in the various regions of Italy (1967), El mac del moc , grandmother's remedies described by children from various regions of Italy (1968), Proverbs and idioms transcribed and illustrated by Italian and foreign children (1970), and Viù ... 'Na òlta - folklore of Val Camonica (1978) published posthumously.

The Fund collects correspondence, not yet inventoried but ordered and conditioned in chronological order by correspondent in special hammocks as well as material and work notes.

[1] Matizia Maroni Lumbroso (edited by), Letters from Giacomo Lumbroso to Mommsen, Pitrè, Breccia (1869-1925), Florence, Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1973, p. 7.

[2] Homage to Matizia, Rome, Marco Besso Foundation, 1988, p. 6 (Notebooks of the Marco and Ernesta Besso Foundations, 2).

[3] Ibid.