The historical archives of the Astrophysical Observatory of Catania holds the historical records of the second Observatory (in order of foundation) in Sicily. Its initial site from 1880, on Mount Etna, at an altitude of 2,941 meters, consisted of a meteorological station and the Institute of Vulcanology of the Catania University. To the latter, the Observatory was later absorbed in 1925.
However, as early as 1885, the Observatory on Mt. Etna was moved to a new site at the former Benedictine Monastery, in the town of Catania, in order to avoid all the problems imposed by severe weather conditions that, in winter afflict the volcano at that altitude.
Equipped with the instrumentation required for high-quality observations, Catania took part in the international astronomical project Carte du Ciel (Map of the Sky). The Observatory remained at this site until 1966 when, through the good offices of M. G. Fracastoro and his collaborators, two new sites were built: an observational one in Serra la Nave on Mount Etna, at an altitude of 1,750 m, and the other, the current location of the Astrophysical Observatory of Catania, in the Catania University Campus.
The latter hosts the documents produced in over a century of scientific and administrative activity, including the more recent records related to the Carte du Ciel project which, following complex vicissitudes, was at risk of dispersal.