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Historical Archives of the European Union - European University Institute

Archives Open Day draws 2000 visitors for a journey through time

The annual Open Day of the Historical Archives of the European Union offered the general public a unique chance to tour its state-of-the-art vaults as well as the magnificent gardens and buildings of Villa Salviati.

29 May 2024 | Event


The Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) at the European University Institute (EUI) returned with its annual Open Day on Saturday, 25 May, welcoming the local community for guided tours, archival exhibits, concerts, and entertainment.  More than 2000 people attended, taking advantage of the good weather to enjoy the magnificent gardens and spaces of the Villa, and to learn about the holdings and activities of the Historical Archives which is seated there. 

The event, organised annually by the Archives' administrative and archival staff, engaged the support of Florence’s chapter of the FAI - Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), which has a partnership with the EUI to valorise the architectural patrimony of the campus. 

For the 2024 Open Day, the Florence chapter of FAI prepared 36 highschool students from the local Gobetti-Volta high school to deliver a total of 28 one-hour guided tours. The students led more than 600 registered visitors and dozens of spontaneous guests through the grounds, describing the Villa’s magnificent architectural features and fascinating history since the Salviati family took possession of the medieval fortress in 1445.

HAEU archivists subsequently explained the Villa’s contemporary role as the single, official depository of the archives of the institutions of the European Union and one of the academic seats of the EUI, accompanying the public through the vast vaults beneath Villa Salviati. Display cases demonstrating a selection of documents and artifacts, as well as audiovisual projections and live readings prepared by the archivists, further illustrated the history of European integration and the archival practices employed to preserve it.

Alongside the fully-booked guided tours were activities aimed to entertain younger visitors at the Archives’ Open Day. The circus school Passe-Passe animated the entire upper garden, along with its stilt-walking collaborators the Karacongioli and bubble artist Laura Magic Farmer.

No HAEU Open Day would be complete without the enjoyment of performances by the young musicians from the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole. The youth Orchestra Piccolissimi Musici performed an interactive children’s concert in the morning, filling the Sala del Consiglio to maximum capacity, while more advanced musicians in the Kalamita Trio and Terabust Quartet concluded the Open Day to resounding applause.  

The Historical Archives has conducted annual Open Days at Villa Salviati since 2013, and is included on the programme of the EUI's State of the Union conference.   

Last update: 29 May 2024

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