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Art Library of the Musei Civici - Fondazione Torino Musei

A consultation library specialized in ancient, modern, and contemporary art history, art criticism, museology, archeology, ethnography, and numismatics. Particular attention is given to analyzing local subject matter and updating fields of interest concerning Turin’s city museums.


The Library was established in the early 1930s with the goal of offering support to bibliographic research on the collections and, initially, it was a tool used only by the staff at the museums. With the subsequent and consistent growth of its holdings, the Library became important also for external scholars, so it was decided to open it to the public and equip it with suitable spaces in the buildings of the new Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, inaugurated in 1959, where it is still located today. Constant updating through purchases, donations, and prolific exchange, which also foster relations with numerous institutions both in Italy and abroad, has made it one of the most important libraries in Italy in this sector.

Art Library of the Musei Civici - Fondazione Torino Musei

Collection and online catalogues


The heritage, consisting of over 140,000 volumes and including CDs, DVDs, videocassettes, and film, has been catalogued according to the guidelines of the Guida alla catalogazione in SBN-Materiale antico e moderno, published by the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle biblioteche italiane (ICCU).


Since 1997 the Library has adhered to the joint cataloguing of the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale-SBN and the bibliographic descriptions, which are regularly implemented by inserting new records, are currently available on the regional site, Librinlinea, and the national one, SBN.

List of magazine subscriptions and collections


The collection of Italian and foreign periodicals is very vast (over 1,500 titles in total). The magazines are currently around 60, whose titles and relating call numbers can be found in this list.

List of magazine subscriptions and collections

(xls - 33.00 KB)

Special collections


Over the years, the Library has acquired numerous special collections. Since 1932 the Library holds around 2,000 volumes and a series of Italian and foreign periodicals from the Società Piemontese di Archeologia e Belle Arti (SPABA).

In 1950 the collection grew with the acquisition of around 8,000 volumes collected by Lorenzo Rovere, director of the Musei Civici from 1921 to 1930, and in the late 1970s, in memory of Aldo Passoni, a body of volumes on the art avant-gardes following World War II became part of the Library.


In 2006 the Library purchased from the Giovanni Agnelli Foundation an interesting series of publications dedicated to the history of ancient Asian art, especially from China. At the end of that year, the Library’s collections were further enriched by an important group of works from the Fondazione Italiana per la Fotografia (FIF), which offers scholars an impressive number of specialist texts on the topic that are difficult to find in Italy.

Digitalized publications


Starting in 2020, the Library began a new project aimed at digitalizing its own collections, with the goal of remote access as well.


It was decided to begin this task with the considerable collection of catalogues for the exhibitions held at the Società Promotrice delle Belle Arti di Torino, founded in 1842 with the goal of promoting art and artists from the age by displaying their works. Frequently requested by scholars, catalogues and albums (richly illustrated) can now be consulted in Pdf format from 1842 to 1940.

Società Promotrice delle Belle Arti di Torino: i cataloghi

Catalogues of current exhibitions

Catalogues for exhibitions underway 
at GAM, MAO, and Palazzo Madama are available to readers and can be freely consulted in our reading room.
View an excerpt here:

Historical Archive of Turin’s Musei Civici


The Library deposits also hold the Historical Archive of Turin’s Musei Civici, which documents its activity and evolution since it was founded in 1863 when the first civic museum was inaugurated on Via Gaudenzio Ferrari.

It holds the memory of the evolution of the collections, of the venues, and of the organization at the Musei Civici. The documents relate to both administration and patrimony (inventories, acquisitions, donations, transferring material) and management (documentation on the installation of exhibitions and events has great importance).
The documentation is kept in metal cabinets and on shelves, arranged in boxes, storage units, and folders and organized according to year and category.
Since this is a complex collection, and considerable for the quantity and quality of the material, indispensible in recreating the history of Turin’s city museums and their collections, it was decided to catalogue, reorder, and inventory the documents. This task, which ended by publishing the inventory from 1862 to 1999 (Archivio dei Musei civici di Torino: inventario 1962-1995 / edited by Carla Ceresa, Valeria Mosca, Daniela Siccardi) allows the works to be used completely and be preserved and managed in the best way possible.


The Archive, whose main hours to the public coincide with those of the Library, is located in its storage areas. Access is allowed according to regulations that include a request form for consultation to which students must also attach a letter of presentation by their professor.

Regolamento per la consultazione dell'Archivio storico

(doc - 27.50 KB)

Associazione Amici della Biblioteca d’Arte dei Musei Civici di Torino


In May 2018 the Associazione Amici della Biblioteca d’Arte dei Musei Civici di Torino – Fondazione Torino Musei was established. Its main goal is to defend, increment, and enhance its heritage. Among its objectives, the Association also aims to strengthen the specialized nature of the Library by creating and supporting research projects and digitalizing some special collections as well as bolstering its heritage through initiatives—like conferences and book presentations—open to the general public. The cultural events can also be viewed on Instagram and Facebook, where users will also find information on how to become a member.

Public services


Access to the reading room is allowed, after presenting a valid ID, to anyone who must conduct research related to the Library’s fields of specialization.
Upon authorization and within the limits established by law, users can make photocopies or take photographs or scans of texts and documents for study purposes, research, or didactic activities. Moreover, since 2008, Wi-Fi is available, with convenient outlets located on tables, thanks to which users have the opportunity to connect to the Internet, free of charge, even from their own laptop.

Interlibrary loans and document delivery are possible, whereas users cannot check material out of the Library.


The public can use hard-copy catalogues organized according to author, title, and subject matter and other specific catalogues for exhibitions and auctions, implemented until 2010. It is also possible to consult from special workstations all online catalogues currently available.

Hours and contact info


Monday to Friday: 10 am to 5 pm
The volume distribution service is suspended from 1pm to 2pm and ends at 4.30pm

Biblioteca d’Arte dei Musei Civici - Fondazione Torino Musei
Via Magenta, 31
10128 Turin


Bibliographic information / interlibrary loan requests / document delivery
Stefano Musso: 0114429532 |

Information on the Historic Archive at the Musei Civici
Franco Stella: 0114429530 |

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