History buffs can explore treasures of Casa Rocca Piccola’s private De Piro library

Malta Private Archive Digitisation Project goes live in online reading room at Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

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Matthew Vella
28 September 2016, 11:47am
Works have begun on the Archivum de Piro at the Casa Rocca Piccola
Works have begun on the Archivum de Piro at the Casa Rocca Piccola
Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti and the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library are shedding new light on Malta’s socio-economic history through the Malta Private Archive Digitisation Project, which targets the treasures buried within Malta’s private libraries,

It is the first comprehensive partnership for both FPM and HMML on private collections in Malta, and the first attempt to systematically catalogue and digitize these valuable cultural resources.

HMML have been photographing manuscript collections across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and south India for almost 50 years, making them the world’s leader in the photographic presentation of manuscripts.

Through their Malta Study Centre, in operation since 1973, new discoveries on the island’s extensive heritage are as of recently being made accessible to the public.

Digitization on part of the Sir Hannibal Scicluna Archive began in November 2015 and should be completed towards the end of this year.

“Digitisation is a powerful technology which essentially converts information into digital format, ensuring the security of rare and valuable pieces of information whilst also enabling them accessible to a wider audience and generate a greater opportunity for learning. Many institutions have taken advantage of this tool, especially for educational purposes,” Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti said.

Works have also concurrently begun on the Archivum de Piro at the Casa Rocca Piccola. This fascinating archive comprises an extensive private family collection of documents and records including wills, contracts, maps, proofs of nobility and other items of interest including more than six hundred copies of letters sent by Giovanni Pio de Piro, 1st Baron of Budach and 1st Marquis de Piro.

As from this month, a selection of manuscripts from this archive will be available on HMML’s new online digital reading room, which allows registered users to freely access HMML’s comprehensive manuscript collections.

Search ‘Archivum de Piro’ in keyword search, or use the advanced search and select Country; Malta, City; Valletta, and Repository; Archivum de Piro.

This collection and others from Malta including some images from the Cathedral Archives and Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum. Over the course of the next year, more manuscripts and archival material from the Archivum de Piro will be made available to the public, whilst continuously improving access point and metadata.

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.