Italy Archives and Libraries
Archives collect and preserve original documents created by organizations such as churches or governments. Libraries generally collect published sources such as books, maps, and microfilm. This section describes the major repositories of genealogical and historical records and sources for Italy.
If you plan to visit one of these repositories, contact the organization and ask for information about their collection, hours, services, and fees.
Although the records you need may be in an archive or library in Italy, the Family History Library may have a microfilm copy of them. The library has copies of many records from numerous Italian archives, as noted below, but from only a few libraries and other record repositories.
In Italy there are several major types of genealogical repositories:
- National Archives 
- Provincial archives and libraries 
- Local civil offices 
- Church archives 
- Church parish offices 
- Other libraries (public, academic, research) 
- Historical and genealogical societies 
- 1 Provincial Archives [Archivio di stato]
- 2 Lamezia Terme a unit dependant on the State Archives of Catanzaro
- 3 Local Civil Offices [Comune]
- 4 Church Archives
- 5 Church Parish
- 6 Other Libraries
- 7 Historical and Genealogical Societies
- 8 Inventories, Registers, Catalogs
- 9 Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards
- 10 Web sites
Provincial Archives [Archivio di stato]
In Italy each province has its own archive. Most records of genealogical value are kept by provincial archives. They serve as repositories for records about their particular area.
Records of genealogical value at provincial archives include:
- Church records (some)
- Civil registration
- Court records
- Military records
- Notarial records
The provincial archives of Italy are open to the public. In addition, the Family History Library has microfilm copies of many of the records from these archives.
There are forty state archive sections in the country.
Lamezia Terme a unit dependant on the State Archives of Catanzaro
The Sezione Archivio de State (Section of the State archive) holds Nicastro district records from 1555:
Sezione Archivio de State
88046 Lamezia Terme
Via A. Moro (Palazzo Gigliotti)
Tele-fax 0968 22048
Reading Room Hours
8:00 AM – 7:00 PM from Monday to Friday
8:00 AM – 1:30 PM Saturday
Local Civil Offices [Comune]
In Italy all records created by the local government since 1865, including birth, death, and marriage records, are kept in local civil offices. These records are available to the public. Civil offices are comparable to town halls in the United States.
Duplicates are kept at the tribunale. You can get information or copies of the records kept at the comune or tribunale by correspondence. You can find a list of archival addresses in:
Archivum; revue internationale des archives publié e avec le concours financier de l’Unesco et sous les auspices du Consil internationale des archives (International review on archives published by the International Council of Archives with the financial aid of Unesco). Paris, France: Presses Universitaires de France, 1952. (FHL book EUROPE REF 020.5 Ar25 v. 38.)
For more information about civil offices and their records, see the "Civil Registration" section of this outline.
Some dioceses of the Catholic Church have gathered duplicates of their older church records into a diocesan archive. You can write to these archives and request brief searches of their records. See the "Church Records" section of this outline.
Catholic records are usually kept by the local parish. You can write to local parishes and church archives for information. See the "Church Records" section of this outline.
Jewish archives, which were mostly destroyed during World War II, are found at the synagogue for each city where a Jewish community existed or exists. The archives of the Waldensians, the oldest Protestant group in the world, are in Torre Pelice in the province of Torino. For more information regarding these groups, see the "Church History" and "Jewish Records" sections of this outline.
Some of the sources you will want to use are also available in major libraries in Italy. These sources include local histories, ancient manuscripts, and unpublished works regarding heraldry and genealogy. Contact these libraries and ask about their collection, hours, services, and fees. A good source regarding Italian libraries and their collections is:
Annuario delle biblioteche italiane (Yearbook of Italian libraries). Three Volumes. Roma, Italy: Fratelli Palombi, 1958. (FHL book EUROPE 945 J5an, 1958; film 962678, item 1–2.)
Historical and Genealogical Societies
Italy has some organized historical and genealogical societies. Some of these societies maintain libraries and archives that collect valuable records. For more information, including addresses, see the "Societies" section of this outline.
Inventories, Registers, Catalogs
Some archives have catalogs, inventories, guides, or periodicals that describe their records and how to use them. If possible, study these guides before you visit or use the records of an archive so that you can use your time more effectively. The Annuario delle biblioteche italiane, mentioned above, is a guide to Italian archives and libraries.
The Family History Library has copies of some Italian libraries’ published inventories and other guides, catalogs, directories, and inventories. To find them look in the Family History Library Catalog under:
ITALY- ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
ITALY, [PROVINCE]- ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
Computer Networks and Bulletin Boards
Computers with modems can be useful tools for obtaining information from selected archives and libraries. In a way, computer networks themselves serve as a library. The Internet, certain computer bulletin boards, and commercial online services help family history researchers:
- Locate other researchers.
- Post queries.
- Send and receive e-mail.
- Search large databases.
- Search computer libraries.
- Join in computer chat and lecture sessions.
You can find computerized research tips and information about ancestors from Italy in many sources at local, provincial, national, and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most information is available at no cost. Many sources on the Internet are in English and provide valuable information regarding research tips, letter-writing, addresses, archives, and so forth.
Contains the Italian Genealogy Homepage. Includes a large surname database.
Lists the following information about all Italian provincial archives: addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail addresses (if one exists), hours, and services available. In Italian.
Provides links to hundreds of Italian genealogical sites.
Contains a weekly posting of queries and answers from PIE (Pointers in E-mail).
Italian news agency. (In Italian.)
Contains the homepage of the Italian Genealogy Group.
Italian-American Cultural Society.