One Hundred Years at the Service of Culture
The Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte was founded in Rome on October 27, 1918. Its aim was to promote and coordinate researches in the field of archaeology and history, in order to facilitate the development of knowledge and protection of the national cultural heritage. His seat was established in Palazzo Venezia, recently claimed from Austria, which held its diplomatic representation here.
The birth of this Institution was sought by Benedetto Croce, Italian Minister of Education, and by Corrado Ricci, founder and first President of the Istituto (1922-34). The new Institute, inaugurated on June 4th 1922, was to be instrumental in allowing Italian scholars to be able to deepen their training in Italy and not be forced to go abroad or lean for research on foreign institutions.
Since 1926, the statutory regulations established the Institute's relationships with Universities and financed scholarships for archaeologists and art historians. At the time of its founding, the Institute had the most prestigious Italian scholars, including Paolo Orsi, Pericle Ducati, Federico Hermanin, Roberto Paribeni, Federico Halbherr, Bartolomeo Nogara, Adolfo and Lionello Venturi, Pietro Toesca, Achille Bertini Calosso and others.
Corrado Ricci also founded the most important Italian public library specializing in archeology and history of art (the BIASA), providing it with important collections of books, manuscripts, drawings and photographs. He also founded the Bulletin of the Royal Institute of Archeology and Art History, published since 1922, and in 1929, the Journal of the Royal Institute of Archeology and Art History (RIASA), which is still being published. It was also articulated by editorial activity, directed towards monographic publications, collections of literary and documentary sources, and bibliographic repertoires.
In 1939, security reasons forced the Istituto to move from Palazzo Venezia to Via della Lungara, at the Accademia d'Italia. Scholarly and editorial activities continued until 1943, albeit in a reduced tone. Only on June 4, 1945, under the chairmanship of Pietro Toesca, the Institute returned to Palazzo Venezia, in the venue it still holds today. In 1952, following the resignation of Toesca, the Presidenza was entrusted to a government Special Commissioner. This management lasted until 1997 and scarcity of financial resources led to the abolition of grants.
The current legal framework, which has put in place the Board of Directors and the President, is based on the provisions of D.P.R. 22 July 1996, which reiterate the ancient vocation and the original aims of the Institute. However, its articulated statute did not foresee the provision of adequate economic resources to support its institutional objectives. In 2003, following the provisions of the law governing the organization of cultural institutes, INASA assumed legal status under private law. In a renewed regulatory environment, the Institute continues - after 100 years - to promote scientific researches aimed to the preservation of cultural heritage, in agreement with institutions and in support of public and private bodies that intend to elaborate projects for the conservation and safeguarding of archaeological and artistic heritage.