National collection of aerial photography
The Italian National Collection of Aerial Photography - Laboratory for Air Photo Interpretation and Aerophotogrammetry is a structure for the collection and study of aerial photographic material related to Italian territory. Born in 1958 as a section separate from the National Photographic Laboratory of the Ministry for Public Instruction, in 1975 it became part of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, the Central Institute for Cataloguing and Documentation.
The National Aerial Photographic Archives has acquired over the course of the years an estate of some two million images of Italian land, drawn together in collections and for the most part catalogued or accessible with particular research keys. Among the oldest images conserved are numbered those of the Roman Forum, taken in the early 1900s by Giacomo Boni and the Specialist Brigade of Genio. Other images of that period have come from the Caproni Aeronautical Museum of Trento, from the Photo Archive del 5° Grade of the Air Force General Staff and from the archive of the painter Francesco Paolo Michetti.
Among the most important collections are to be found the metric plans and stereoscopic photos taken between 1943 and 1945 by the Reconnaissance of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) and the German Luftwaffe. To these can be added the flights of the Italian Aeronautic Military, the Military Geographic Institute and the Technical Tax Office of Florence. Several collections of aerial photographic surveys or productions of maps have been donated by or acquired from civil society, such as Aerofoto Consult, Aerotop, EIRA, ESACTA, E.T.A. Nistri, Fotocielo, I-BUGA, IRTA, S.A.F. Nistri, SIAT. Some still active branches of societies, such as CGR e S.A.R.A. Nistri, are only accessible for consultation on site.
With correct use and viewing, the large amount of information contained in each photogram provide various possible readings, available for diverse uses. The photographic material can be acquired in copy form or examined and studied on site with the assistance of specialised staff.