The Institute draws its origins from the "Società Italiana per la ricerca dei Papiri greci e latini in Egitto" (Italian Society for the Search for Greek and Latin Papyri in Egypt), a non-profit entity financed through the contribution of its members, founded in Florence on June 1st, 1908 on the initiative of Girolamo Vitelli. At that time he was the most eminent Italian Hellenist and a full professor of Greek Literature at the Istituto di Studi Superiori di Firenze, which later, in 1924, became the University of Florence.

For about twenty years, the "Società Italiana" continued successfully with its program of excavation and buying campaigns, in order to acquire papyri in Egypt for studying and publishing purposes.  The most important result of this period is the first eight volumes of Papiri della Società Italiana (PSI), published between 1912 and 1927. However, in 1927, the "Società Italiana" desolved, and in 1928 the Istituto Papirologico was established within the University of Florence, and the first director was Girolamo Vitelli.

The Institute inherited the tasks and the study materials from the "Società Italiana": between 1929 and 1935 the volumes IX, X and XI of the PSI were published; the initiatives and activities of excavations were fostered and for this reason the Institute became one of the most important centres for papyrology at an international level.

In 1939 the Institute adopted its present name to pay honour to the memory of Vitelli, who died at 86, on September 2nd, 1935.

In spite of the partial slowdown occurring during the 2nd World War, the activities of the Institute continued with the publication of further volumes of PSI (vol. XII fasc. 1, 1943; fasc. 2, 1951; vol. XIII, fasc. 1, 1949; fasc. 2, 1953; vol. XIV 1957), and of many other texts published outside the official series.

However, excavations and acquisitions were stopped during this time and were resumed only in 1964, thanks to Vittorio Bartoletti. The activity went on almost continuously until today, and the excavation at Antinoupolis is still active.

After Girolamo Vitelli, the Institute was directed by Medea Norsa (1935-1949), Nicola Terzaghi (1949-1963), Vittorio Bartoletti (1963-1967) and Manfredo Manfredi (1968-1991). 

In 1991 the Institute was acknowledged to be an "Ente Nazionale di Ricerca non Strumentale" ("Essential National Research Entity"), with Manfredo Manfredi (1991-1998) designed as President, and then, after a few months of vice-presidency held by Angelo Casanova, Guido Bastianini. 

Finally, on January 1st, 2005, with a decree by the Italian Prime Minister, the Istituto Papirologico became part of the University of Florence as a scientific structure linked to the Humanities faculty, with the status of Study Centre. Since February 8th, 2006, the Director is Guido Bastianini, full professor of Papyrology at the University of Florence.

To learn more about the Istituto Papirologico - visit the website.


Girolamo Vitelli, Founder

At the time he founded the Istituto Papirologico, Girolamo Vitelli was the most eminent Italian Hellenist, full professor of Greek Literature at the Istituto di Studi Superiori di Firenze, which later, in 1924, became the University of Florence.


Dr. Rosario Pintaudi, Director of Field Expedition

Dr. Rosario Pintaudi, Director, Archaeological Mission to Antinoupolis (since 2003); Full Professor of Papyrology, the University of Messina, Sicily, Italy; and Director in Charge of the restoration and publication of the Papyrus Collection stored in the Laurentian Library (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana), University of Florence, Italy.


Dr. Diletta Minutoli, Manager of Field Expedition

Papirologist and Professor, University of Messina, Italy.