Ever since the Renaissance, Italy’s banks have been among the country’s greatest patrons of the arts, funding and commissioning works as well as amassing vast collections. Now, the Italian banking association (Associazione Bancaria Italiana) is preparing a publicly accessible digital archive that will include information on the collections owned by all banks throughout Italy.
The official figure stands at around 300,000 works, and the first 10,000 should be digitally accessible next June. Meanwhile, the banking association’s library, which includes 15,000 publications on the art collections of Italy’s banks, is now open to the public in Rome’s 17th-century Palazzo Altieri. The library was recently restored by the architect Gae Aulenti, who died last year.