Scriversi di storia e di diplomatica comunali. Le lettere di Pietro Torelli e di Cesare Manaresi ad Angelo Mazzi
Graduated at the University of Padua (under the supervision of Giuseppe De Leva and Andrea Gloria), archivist, librarian, and then Director of Civic Library “Angelo Mai” of Bergamo for about a period of thirty years (1898-1925), Angelo Mazzi is not only the most important and prolific local historian. His epistolario, rich of correspondence with some of the main Italian medievalists active between 19th and 20th century (Cipolla, Novati, Schiaparelli, Volpe, just to mention the greatest ones), gives evidence for a very large consideration and prestige, that Mazzi gained thanks to his extraordinary knowledge and criticism of Bergamo’s written sources. Close analysis of legal documents and narrative works are not confined, in any event, to a mere philological field, but, especially for communal studies, they turn out to be broader historical frameworks with lots of original interpretations that are still valid and appreciated. It’s just on Mazzi’s profile as historian of communes that this paper is mainly focused, though without any pretension of examining in detail his best known books and his historiographical significance: it will be his figure of rigorous reviewer and hard-working erudite to hold the stage, instead, together with some of his typical ways of reading the documentary sources as they result from a little, thematically consistent dossier of letters that have been here edited and analyzed. Dated back to the period of composition and first reception of the Studi di diplomatica comunale and of the Atti del comune di Milano, these letters show well how Mazzi was interested in the branch of research inaugurated by Pietro Torelli and usefully continued by Cesare Manaresi. There again, though aged at that time, Mazzi himself supported a little survey on Bergamo communal notaries in 13th century: at the close of the paper, we’ll briefly talk about values and limits of that initiative, focusing on the general cultural reasons and the material conditionings that, during the second decade of the 20th century and for many years more, blocked any further developments of Torelli’s legacy.