Close to the library are the archives, a small collection of letters, meteorological and astronomical observations, papers and drawings related to the scientific and administrative life of the Bologna Observatory. The earliest documents date back to 1696, when a group of astronomers, lead by Eustachio Manfredi, planned the creation of an astronomical institute and the building of the tower. A reorganization of the archives is in progress, in order to give electronic access to documents, but saving the original structure of the archives itself.

Here is a guide to the Archives of the Bologna Department of Astronomy (in italian)

The archives are open from monday to saturday, h. 9-14, on appointement with M. Zuccoli (Dipartimento di Astronomia - Universita' di Bologna - Via Zamboni 33 - 40126 Bologna Italy - Tel. +51-259315/259309 - Fax +51-259407 - e-mail

Microfilm copies of documents can be made on request for a small fee and mail expenses.

EUSTACHIO MANFREDI (Bologna, 1674-1739)

Mathematics professor at Bologna University, was the first director of the Observatory. Enfant prodige, at 16 he founded at his own home a scientific academy, which later gave origin to the Institute of Sciences. Main topic of research in his early years at the Observatory was the annual aberration of fixed stars, about which he published "De annuis inerrantium aberrationibus" in 1729. Manfredi was al Manfredi, together with his brothers and sisters, made astronomical observations which are available in the archives, and published the "Ephemerides Bononienses", a series started in 1715 which was continued until 1845.


Series of astronomical ephemerides started in 1715 by Eustachio Manfredi, then continued by Eustachio Zanotti (Bologna 1709-1782) and other astronomers of the Bologna Observatory, until 1845. Manuscripts of the first issues can be found in the archives, while the collection of Ephemerides is present in the antique library.


The archives collect a group of letters written by and to the astronomers of Bologna: e.g. see letters of Gian Domenico Cassini, Paris M. Salvago, Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli, Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, Antoine F. Laval, Ottaviano Fabrizio Mossotti and Guido Horn d'Arturo. Eighteenth century letters have been frequently searched, and many of them have been published, while nineteenth and twentieth century correspondence, which embraces a lesser number of letters, lies almost unexplored.

GUIDO HORN D'ARTURO (Trieste, 1880-1967)

Graduated in astronomy in Wien and was director of Bologna Observatory since 1920. Besides his scientific activity (among other achievements, the construction of the specchio a tasselli, progenitor of the multiple mirror telescopes) particularly relevant were his efforts to give the library a modern organization, providing a card catalogue and a subject classification, and giving the archives their present organization, both chronological and by subjects. He also contributed to the diffusion of amateur astronomy with his "Piccola enciclopedia astronomica" (together with Piero Tempesti) and founding the journal COELUM, (1931-1986).

Dipartimento di Astronomia