Milan’s Missing Documents

An investigation of missing documents at Milan’s State Archive has proven startling results. “Thousands of pieces were found to have disappeared: parchments from the 11th century; papal bulls; official decrees bearing the signatures of Emperor Charles V, Empress Maria Theresa and Napoleon; autograph manuscripts by such Italian literary giants as Alessandro Manzoni and Gabriele D’Annunzio — a substantial slice of eight centuries of European history, as seen through documents from one of the continent’s wealthiest metropolitan centers from the Middle Ages onward. Some 3,000 items from the State Archives and smaller depositories have been recovered, while 1,000 more are still reported missing, probably smuggled into private collections in Italy or abroad.”