The Newly-Established Alinari Photography Foundation Finds a Home in Florence


Visitor on the spiral staircase of Palazzo Vecchio’s Arnolfo tower with a view of Florence Cathedral circa 1900-1905

The newly-established Alinari Foundation has announced its plans to move its historical archive to Villa Fabbricotti, Via Vittorio Emmanuele II, 64. The Alinari Foundation traces its origins back to three Florentine brothers, Leopoldo, Giuseppe and Romualdo Alinari who opened their laboratory in 1852 in via Nazionale, along a stretch now known as Largo Alinari. Though the brothers initially established a studio to photograph and document significant Italian artworks, they soon expanded their mission to include towns, landscapes and portraiture. Within a decade, the brothers were recognized for the quality of  their work and would produce photographic portraits of the Italian royal family by 1860. 

The laboratory and subsequent private collection evolved into a historical foundation.  The oldest photography archive in the world contains more than 5,000,000 photographs, documents, books as well as physical cameras, props and technical equipment. In the decades following World War II, the archive passed ownership through several hands until 2019, when the Region of Tuscany bought the archive, signaling a new future for the foundation as a place of research, collaboration and community. 

Following its most recent purchase, the FAF (Fondazione Alinari per la Fotografia) was created in July 2020 to ensure the protection of the archive and to promote the historical relevance of photography for today’s society. To commemorate the foundation’s new beginnings as a place of cultural importance, the FAF’s President Giorgio Von Straten and Director Claudia Baronicini announced that the new location of the archive will be Villa Fabbricotti. The foundation has also announced plans for the expansion of the archive’s accessibility through future museum, though the location has yet to be decided. 

The reopening of the Alinari Archive is of significant importance. Thanks to the new location, the foundation welcomes the public to view an archive whose historical relevance strongly evokes a collective memory and cultural identity of Tuscany, a region of creativity, history and artistic innovation.  (mirabella shahidullah)