Rosellini Project


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The “Rosellini Project” (supervisor: prof. Marilina Betrò) aims mainly to increase the value of the documentary and artistic heritage of the Rosellini archive, one of the most important Egyptological archive in the world, held in the University Library of Pisa. It is the huge documentation gathered by Ippolito Rosellini, co-director of the Franco-Tuscan expedition to Egypt of the 1828-29, during his short but intense life (1800-1843).

The project provided, during the 2008 and 2012, the digitalization, organization and online publication of the archive material, most of it accessible to the public through the portal:

The study of the material, that was possible thanks to the project itself, created also different initiatives, among which the conference “Talking along the Nile. Ippolito Rosellini, travellers and scholars of the 19th century in Egypt”, and two exhibitions on the expedition materials during the 2010. The first one “Ippolito Rosellini and the dawn of Egyptology: original drawings and manuscripts of the Franco-Tuscan expedition to Egypt, 1828-29, from the Biblioteca universitaria di Pisa” was organized in collaboration with the Egyptian Museum of Cairo and held there. The second one was bigger and took place at Palazzo Blu in Pisa “Along the Nile. Ippolito Rosellini and the Franco-Tuscan expedition to Egypt (1828-29)”, in this occasion the drawings and manuscripts of the expedition were reunited with the antiquities that came along with them, now held in Florence and Pisa, and some samples of the plants took by the naturalist of the expedition in Egypt, Giuseppe Raddi.

The analysis of Rosellini material provides also numerous new publications and interesting discoveries: a rich dossier of architectural plans and drawings, not only unpublished but also totally unknown to the scholars, done in Egypt by Gaetano Rosellini; a second dossier of drawings and watercolors of the expedition painter Giuseppe Angelelli, unknown as well; the identification of the text, until now believed lost, of the “Giornale di Viaggi” of Alessandro Ricci.

To the Rosellini project, in different ways and time, contributed: Biblioteca Universitaria, Egyptian Museum of Florence, Egyptian collection of the Univerity of Pisa, Museo of Opera del Duomo, Linguistica Computazionale Institute of CNR Pisa, Fondazione Rinascimento digitale of Florence, with Marco Ruffino.


The egyptologists that have collaborated are: Marilina Betrò, Paolo del Vesco, Federica Facchetti, Sara Giannotti, Angiolo Menchetti, Gianluca Miniaci and Daniele Salvoldi.

Rosellini archive

Among the papers, it represents the group of manuscripts related to the Tuscan part of the Franco-Tuscan expedition to Egypt (1828-29): notebooks, original texts and drawings from the “Monumenti dell’Egitto e della Nubia”, travel diary, correspondence and others. Within the manuscripts there is also a Hieroglyphics dictionary with cards, result of the research carried out by the Pisan Egyptologist and texts of a part of the Egyptological, Arabic and hebrew lessons held by Rosellini at the University of Pisa. The all patrimony amounts to 20000 papers and arrived at University of Pisa during the 19th century with three donations: the first by the will of Rosellini itself, the other two after the decision of his wife and son.

© 2016