The Touring Club Italiano Historical Archive

125 years of history, a century of Italy and Italians discovering our country

The building of the headquarters of Touring Club Italiano, corso Italia 10, Milan (1915) by IgnotoTouring Club Italiano

The Archive of our history

The Touring Club Italiano Historical Archive is the memory of the first tourist association in Italy, founded in Milan in 1894 with the aim of promoting tourism all over the country. A 125-year history built, year after year, with the contribution and support of our members, who saw, in the historic headquarter of Corso Italia 10 inaugurated in 1915, “the travelers’ house” materialize.

The historic headquarter located in Milan, corso Italia 10 (1950) by Bruno StefaniTouring Club Italiano

The map "Carta d'Italia" (2016) by Lorenzo De SimoneTouring Club Italiano

The tools to discover the country

The TCI Historical Archive preserves all the materials the association has produced or acquired since 1898 – the year in which the Archive was created – to put its mission into pratice. Guides, maps and photographic publications have entered our members’homes providing important tools for traveling.The first map was produced in 1906, the first guide in 1914, starting from 1930 the photographic publications have been produced in a sistematic way.

Travelling (1960) by IgnotoTouring Club Italiano

Traveling with the Road Cart to 200.000 of TCI, a must-have for all road travellers.

The first regional guides published (2016) by Lorenzo De SimoneTouring Club Italiano

Regional monographs of the early twentieth century

Red Guides (2016) by Lorenzo De SimoneTouring Club Italiano

Red Guides represent a Touring excellence, together with maps and plans. The first volume was published in 1914 and is dedicated to Piedmont, Lombardy and Ticino.

Umbria (1970) by Touring Club ItalianoTouring Club Italiano

Since 1961, Green Guides have become an alternative to Red ones, distinguishing themselves for a more flexibile format that gives less space to the historical and artistic descriptions so deeply inside Red Guides’s concept, rather preferring practical information for the organization of the tourist itineraries.

"Attraverso l'Italia", a photographic publication (2016) by Lorenzo De SimoneTouring Club Italiano

The photographic publications have been produced in a sistematic way since 1930, with the series “Attraverso l’Italia” about Italian regions, and sent to all members. Photographic agencies and well known authors were assigned to the mission of create a brand new portrait of Italy. All these prints are kept in our Historical Archive.

"Attraverso l'Italia", a photographic publication (2016) by Lorenzo De SimoneTouring Club Italiano

The volume “Toscana”, 1934

The historical magazinesTouring Club Italiano

The world in words

Among the materials kept in our Historical Archive, also all the historical magazines monthly sent to all members. The first was sent in 1895 and was kind of an house-organ. But soon the number of total pages grew, the tone became more popular, the topics widened and new magazines were created, each one with a different topic and style. A mine of information and articles about Italy and foreign countries, according to a travel journalism that allows the readers to travel all over the world even while sitting on their sofas.

One of the oldest association cards (1904)Touring Club Italiano

Behind the materials, the people

The history of TCI is also, first of all, a story of people. People who contributed to the growth of the association, adhering to the values of TCI and actively partecipating. The historical archive is also their memory. Of the members, true soul of the association. In 1894, when the TCI was born, they were 784. In 1934, there were already 435.427. Their cards stored in our archive are a dip in the history of Itlay, a mirror of professions, origins and faces.

TCI campsite in Pescasseroli (1922) by Mariani & FlecchiaTouring Club Italiano

The memory of members

To discover Italy, the members went in person, taking part in the first cycling tours, the first National Excursions promoted by the association, the first campsites and then the organized collective trips and holidays in the village owned by TCI. The memory of these first trips to discover unrevelead ltalian territories is entrusted to photographs and albums that we preserve in the archive. On the right, a campsite in Pescasseroli, Abruzzo, in 1922. 

Members of Touring Club Italiano during a travel, Leptis Magna (1931) by IgnotoTouring Club Italiano

Members of TCI during a travel, Leptis Magna, 1935

14° TCI Campsite (1935) by A. PeitiTouring Club Italiano

The 14° TCI campsite, Val Venegia, Trentino-Alto Adige, 1935

TCI Campsite in Fiascherino (1951) by IgnotoTouring Club Italiano

TCI Campsite, Fiascherino, Liguria, 1951

A travel photoalbum (2016) by Lorenzo De SimoneTouring Club Italiano

An album with photos from the campsite in Valmalenco, Lombardy, 1926.

The celebration for the tirthieth anniversary of Touring (1924) by Mario CastagneriTouring Club Italiano

The memory of people who worked with TCI

Even the memory of people employed or who collaborated with the TCI is important. This kind of memory is represented by photos but also correspondences and official documents. In the photo, the celebration for the tirthieth anniversary of Touring, celebrated in 1924.

The road signs laboratory (1930) by Dario GattiTouring Club Italiano

The signage activity carried out since the end of the XIX century to give practical answer to the need for orientation indications along the italian streets, was totally made within the TCI, in a special laboratory. From 1896 to 1974, the TCI produced and distributed, in agreement with municipalities, over 700.000 roadsigns.

Roadsign, From the collection of: Touring Club Italiano
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Once of the oldest roadsigns we keep in the Archive. At the beginning, the roadsigns were produced thanks to donations from individuals, such as Federico Johnson, who was one of the founders of Touring Club and director of the association until 1919.

The making of atlas: the engraving of a litographic stone (1954) by FotobeufTouring Club Italiano

The maps and atlases were made internally, by specially trained cartographs who used litographic stones as matrices for printing until the fifties. 

The making of an atlas (1954) by FotobeufTouring Club Italiano

A photographic fund about mountains (2016) by Lorenzo De SimoneTouring Club Italiano

Many photographers, amateurs or professionals, involved in Touring Club Italiano for the illustration of volumes and magazines. These shots constitute the photographic section of the Archive: 350,000 black and white prints, datable between 1870 and 1970. A widespread documentation of Italy, region by region, and of foreign countries; photographs of Touring activities and activities proposed to members; documentation of topics of interest to the TCI, from agriculture to roads and travel infrastructures through sports, changes in society, work and much more. A collection of unparalleled photographs in which to find all the history of Italy of the last century

Digitouring (2020)Touring Club Italiano

Digitouring, the online archive

Since 2014, Digitouring is the online platform where you can explore part of the materials stored in our Archive, by doing targeted searches within the catalog, by browsing page by page the historical magazines sent to members or by being intrigued and stimulated by the storytelling proposed in the "Stories from TCI ".

Credits: Story

Touring Club Italiano

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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