About AAB

The Archivio Generale Arcivescovile di Bologna (generally abbreviated as AAB) is the primary repository of the Church of Bologna and contains documentation spanning from the Middle Ages to modern times. The institution also preserves smaller clerical and private archives dating back to the 10th century.


It was established in 1573 when Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti decided to build an ample space within the Episcopal Palace to preserve the writings of his predecessors and his own. Following Napoleon’s conquest of Bologna, Cardinal Carlo Oppizzoni reorganized the Diocese and its documentation, renaming Paleotti’s original Archive as the actual name Archivio Generale Arcivescovile. Oppizzoni assigned a new location to the Archive within the same palace. He proclaimed that all documentation from ecclesiastic institutions, which was at risk of dispersion after the Napoleonic reform, must be stored in the new location. Furthermore, he offered the possibility of preserving additional archives considered relevant to the culture and history of the Bolognese Church.


In 1899, Cardinal Domenico Svampa opened the Archive to the public. Don Augusto Macchiavelli led the archive from 1929 to 1950. He was designated by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Nasalli Rocca. Macchiavelli gave the Archive a new organization and order and drew up new inventories for consultation. In 1961, after a decade of inactivity, the Archive was relocated to its current place, thanks to Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro, who equipped an 8-floor metallic tower for storage.



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