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The Institute for the History of the Venetian State and Society was founded in 1955 to promote a more specific, in-depth approach to the study of the various aspects of the Venetian state and society. The historical period considered therefore goes from the still embryonic state under the Byzantine area of influence to its moment of greatest power as the Dominante and then the Serenissima's final downfall and break-up in 1797. This does not exclude, however, the study of later 19th and 20th-century developments when the city was no longer the capital of a republic.
One of the Institute's primary resources is the microfilm library of documents concerning Venice held in Italian and foreign libraries and, especially, in archives outside Venice. On one hand, this provides a measure of Venice's impact on European history and, on the other, it enables scholars to assess European and even extra-European events from the lagoon, which in terms of reception and elaboration constitutes a remarkable vantage point. These two different aspects reflect the constant intertwining of the city-state's relationship with its context and, in turn, how the context influenced the city-state. Moreover, there is a focus on specifically Venetian themes (such as the origins and the form of the state) tackled with the latest historiographic methods thus further elaborating previously studied subjects with innovative schemes and information and so also opening up new fields of investigation.
Created in 1955 and constantly expanded, the microfilm library consists of over 2,000,000 frames and thus brings together easily consultable documents concerning Venice but held outside the city, at times for original material occupying long shelving of entire archive storerooms. The microfilm library is thus an almost obligatory stop for anyone having studied in the Venetian State Archives ...