The archives of the Italian astronomical observatories preserve written records of the activities of some of the oldest scientific institutions of our country.

The records document the activities of astronomers and reveal their connections with the scientific community, political power, and civil society at the time.< br /> In the archives, there are documents related to the scientific work of astronomers, such as diaries of observations (astronomical, meteorological, magnetic, and topographical), theoretical writings, drafts of their publications, correspondence exchanged with colleagues around the world, and travel reports.
They also preserves the documentation of the institutional activity, which includes administrative and accounting papers.

In some observatories are then preserved papers produced by other institutions such as, for example, the Archive of the Italian Astronomical Society or that of the scientific society Urania.
Iconographic, cartographic, and photographic material are plentiful.

The archives are a valuable and irreplaceable cultural heritage due to their value as first-hand sources for historical research.

Preliminary notes on archival research

The inventory is always the starting point for searching an institution's historical archive.
The examination of the archive complex, series, and subseries must not be overlooked by any researcher.

Computer tools have made it easier to search by word, but it shouldn't be considered an exhaustive method because the outcome is entirely dependent on what the archivists have reported in the descriptions of the series, subseries, or archival units, as well as in the regesta.
Furthermore, the terminology used when compiling an inventory is not distinct or standardized.