“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera” (Lewis Hine – American photographer and sociologist).
The invention of photography represents one of the most important moments in the recent history of mankind, because it has changed our way of communicating, thinking and remembering. An important part of our culture and our knowledge is, in effect, founded on photographs: for us, these images are art, testimonial and memory. In this sense, they represent a cultural asset with a strong documentary, historical and anthropological value, which forms an exceptionally important resource bearing witness to the history of events, people, property and the territory.
This is why, when we talk about the heritage of EUR SpA, we are not only talking about the real estate, landscape and works of art, but also the vast and extraordinary iconographic heritage of historic photographs, kept in the EUR SpA archives and at the Archivio Centrale dello Stato (Central State Archives), the majority of which are not visible in the site's photogallery. A heritage that cannot be outsourced, telling us of a past and a future that must use the potential of culture, art, tourism. The snaps, full of history and skill, represent the spirit of an era: an asset of inestimable significance for the unique nature of its historic value, but at the same time a cultural resource that deserves to be enhanced and made use of.
There are approximately 20,000 images of acknowledged historical and artistic interest, capable of documenting the history of the EUR district, from its conception in the Thirties, when Mussolini decided to hold the Universal Exhibition of 1942 in Rome, to the Fifties and Sixties, when the pentagon was enriched by the construction of important sports facilities, created for the Games of the XVII Olympiad in 1960. There are 16,218 images held directly in the Company's archives:
- 9,400 black and white negatives on film (size 5x5 cm) to be digitalized and catalogued;
- 631 colour slides from the Sixties and Seventies;
- 6,187 negatives on glass slides (size 10x15 cm or 16x18 cm), of which 3,050 have already been restored, digitalized and captioned with the assistance of the Regional Department for the Cultural and Landscape Heritage of Lazio and the Superintendent for the Historic, Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage of Lazio and filed in the digital archives of the historic Florentine company F.lli Alinari between 2008 and 2013.
Then there is an extraordinary body of graphic and photographic material, comprising original documents stored in 971 envelopes dating from 1937 to 1950, 3,664 original drawings and approximately 2,400 photographs, together with files containing albums of works of art and drafts, records, protocols and magazines, all kept at the Central State Archives. An extraordinary collection of testimonials from which to reconstruct the political, social and historical-artistic history of EUR. A valuable documentary that can tell us of how the great Roman Exhibition of E42 (from Palazzo della Civilità Italiana to Palazzo dei Ricevimenti e dei Congressi) was created, and at the same time tells of figures who made their mark on the history of Italy during that period.