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The Bollettino del R. Comitato Geologico d'Italia

Established in 1870 by Igino Cocchi (1827-1913), President of the Geological Committee from 1867 until 1873, the Bollettino del R. Comitato Geologico d'Italia was designed to answer several needs. Firstly, to make known the progress of research on Italian geology, waiting for better financial times that would allow the publication of the first sheets of the Geological Map of the Kingdom. Secondly, to favour the building up of a decent working library, through the exchange of gift subscriptions and publications to be reviewed. Thirdly, Cocchi hoped to gather political and scientific support for his project of forwarding the geological survey of Italy through voluntary contributions and the publication of preliminary studies in the Bollettino. Fourthly, Cocchi hoped to convince State authorities that Italy needed a good school for surveying geologists and mining experts, to be set up in Florence, then capital of Italy.

The Bollettino survived the fall of Cocchi early in 1873 (See P. Corsi, "The Italian Geological Survey : the Early History of a Divided Community", In G. B. Vai et W. Cavazza, ed, Four centuries of the word 'Geology', Ulisse Aldrovandi 1603 in Bologna, Minerva Edizioni, Bologna, 2003, pp. 255-279), and indeed fulfilled many of the goals he had indicated. When the Comitato Geologico resumed activities in the late 1870s, under the directorship of Felice Giordano (1825-1892), bitter infights within the geological and the mining communities gave the Bollettino a further function: that of faithfully reporting the at times stormy debates that characterized the meeting of the Comitato Geologico during the 1880s. The sharp division between Antonio Stoppani (1824-1891) and Torquato Taramelli (1843-1922) on the one side, and the Geological Service headed by Giordano on the other, over the best organisation to be adopted by the Italian Geological Survey, produced lengthy meeting minutes, checked and proofread with care by all parties involved. Needless to say, the minutes should be compared with the archives of the Geological Service, and the correspondence between the various actors, in order to gain a fuller and fascinating insight into the daily working, institutional policies and scientific squabbles that characterized the life of the Geological Survey.

This section of the website will host all the official reports printed in the Bollettino until the mid-1920s. It monitors the enthusiasm and polemics of the 1870s and 1880, and the deception of the period 1890-1910, when finances were reduced to a minimum, and surveying geologists were employed to provide technical expertise on railways and roads, earthquakes and water supply, land drainage and the building of dams. The publication of the Geological Map of Italy proceeded at a very slow pace, amid political indifference, uncertain budgets and scientific isolation.

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Editeur/editor : Pietro CORSI, pietro.corsi@history.ox.ac.uk - Le site internet est hébergé sur la grille de services de la TGIR Huma-Num.