The Documentary Collections
Documentary materials produced by companies who over the years have run industries and agricultural businesses have unfortunately been subject to same history and often decline as the companies themselves. Between the late 1970s and the early 1980s, lots of archive material was disposed of, because it was considered cumbersome and no longer necessary.
The importance of preserving the documentary heritage that still existed, led the Municipal Administration of Torviscosa to seek funding to collect, organise and make available all the documents and information contained in the archives. This gave rise to the project that was then funded by the POR FESR 2007-2013 programme.
The research proved very fruitful on the whole, and today the documentary heritage of Torviscosa’s history is made up of various collections and materials, some from private individuals who we would like to thank.
The Historical Municipal Archive
The historical municipal archive includes the acts from 1940, the year in which the Municipality was established, to 1975. They were reorganised and catalogued in 2012 by archivists from the Ebla Cooperative, in agreement with the Friuli Venezia Giulia Archives Authority. The documentation, which was deposited in recent years in an ex-theatre, was in a reasonable state of preservation, but had never been catalogued or reorganised. The archive activities were carried out not only on the historical section, but also on other collections that were especially interesting as regards the aims of the project: cataloguing and digitising files on historic architecture in the Municipality of Torviscosa, cataloguing and digitising folders regarding environmental testing carried out between 1940 and 2005 and, finally, cataloguing 455 drawings from the ex-archives of SAICI-SNIA Viscosa.
The Caffaro Industries S.p.A. Collection
The collection contains 280 drawings, dating back from 1940 to 1960 and includes plans, perspective drawings and sections of almost all the historic buildings and homes of the town, as well as maps and urban development plans dating back to the period following the Second World War. At the time, almost all the town was the property of SAICI-SNIA Viscosa, which, as a result, produced and held all the relevant documentation.
The material is now the property of Caffaro Industrie S.p.A., the company that succeeded the ex SNIA – Caffaro and thus owns part of the historic archives of the ex-SAICI-SNIA Viscosa.
Thanks to an agreement with Caffaro Industrie, in 2012 the material was deposited with the Municipal Administration, which began to catalogue it. During 2016 there are also plans to digitise all the papers that make up this valuable collection.
The ex-SNIA – Caffaro Collection
The collection includes around 4,000 slides or celluloid negatives produced between 1937 and 1967 by the Aragozzini Crimella Studio from Milan. The material illustrates and documents the ongoing agrarian settlement works and the building of the factory and the town in Torre di Zuino (Torviscosa) during the 1930s, the destruction caused by war and subsequent reconstruction, building the Meduno plants and some of the SNIA’s foreign factories. Around a hundred negatives show the more recent plants, visits from foreign delegations and famous figures and other activities that took place from 1960 to 2000. The collection also includes around seven thousand positive images, part of which correspond to the negatives, and one thousand nine hundred black and white postcards showing around twenty subjects taken over various eras.
In 2010 the collection was declared as being of cultural interest under Legislative Decree 42/2004.
The Technical Library Collection
This includes around 5,000 monographs and dozens of years of around 200 scientific and technical journals, mostly regarding SNIA Viscosa’s production: organic and inorganic chemistry, industrial chemistry, electrochemistry, metallurgy, cellulose, water treatment, waste treatment, atomic energy, chemical laboratories and explosive materials. The publications come from several sources: the largest part of the material is from the historic Bomprini Parodi Delfino library from Colleferro (which was incorporated into SNIA Viscosa in 1968). Most of the works date back from the ‘30s to the ‘70s. However, there are also books from the first and second halves of the 18th century, with the oldest dating back to 1823. There are some very interesting and rare articles on the history of Torviscosa, on Torre di Zuino, on (and by) Marinotti, on the SAICI, on SNIA Viscosa and on the 20th century planned communities.
The Civic Library Photographic Collection
The photographic collection contains 2164 positive images covering the period from 1938 to 1995 and is an important account of Torviscosa’s social history. A large number of photographs document activities and events related to the factory: the visit of the President of the Italian Republic, Saragat, the building of the factory in India and views of Indian forests, aerial views of Torviscosa, shots of the Filigare children’s camp, various buildings at the plant, the thermoelectric plant, the hydroelectric plants, the caprolactam, the milk centre, and the Documentary Information Centre. There are particularly interesting period images showing Mussolini’s visit and a model of Piazza Impero (today Piazza del Popolo).
The largest part of the collection shows political and social activity in Torviscosa from the early ‘70s to 1995.
The Tal Campo Collection
In 2014, the Tal Campo Arts and Recreational Association donated its collection of photographs and documents, containing around 400 positive images and over 300 negative images of Villaggio Roma between 1950 and 1980, to the Municipality of Torviscosa. The photography collection was created over the years with period photographs and reproductions from citizens who lived in Villaggio Roma from the post-war period to the present day. The images show the transformation of an ex-concentration camp into a workers’ village and describe the living conditions of the families of agricultural and industrial workers outside their work environment. The collection also includes a splendid book of photographs showing work in the fields and early works of agricultural settlement carried out by the SAICI, created by the Venice International Photographic Agency in 1938.
The Torvis Farm Collection
This collection contains graphic and documentary material relating to agricultural management by SAICI-SNIA Viscosa. There are around 1800 drawings, at least half of which are of notable historic and archival importance, like the planimetries showing the urban development plans of 1943, 1947 and 1949. There are drawings of all SAICI buildings throughout the municipal area and also designs for buildings that were never constructed. Part of the documents include files containing contracts of purchase for lands by SAICI-SNIA Viscosa between 1937 and the early ’40s. The archive became the property of the Ferruzzi family in 1981 and the property of the Andretta family, who still own it, in 1993, but who have now made it available to the Municipality of Torviscosa to be archived and digitised.
The Gini Bedendi Collection
The collection is made up of two hundred and forty positive images that show the damage sustained by the plant following the bombings of February 1945, building works on Marinotti’s villa and archaeological finds set in the walls, the building of the stadium, the old elementary schools of the Villaggio Roma, the church in the Arsa district and the construction of villas for mangers in viale Villa. The collection, property of the Gini family, was donated to the Municipality by Eldamira Bedendi, a teacher, in 2014.