About Us

The Polish Academy of Sciences - Scientific Center in Rome is one of the six scientific foreign centers of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The date of its establishment is considered to be 1927, when, as a result of an agreement between the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Polska Akademia Umiejętności, PAU) in Cracow and the Archbishop Metropolitan of Cracow, 12 rooms were rented in the Roman Hospice at the Church of St. Stanislaus in via delle Botteghe Oscure, which served as a base for the establishment of the PAU Scientific Center in Rome. 

The very idea of creating a Polish Scientific Center in Rome dates back to much earlier times, dating back to the pontificate of Leo XIII, when, following the announcement in 1881 of the decision to open the secret Vatican Archives, scholars from all over the world, including Poland, rushed to Rome in search of sources for the history of their nations. 

The first Expeditio Romana, led by Professor Stanisław Smolka, set out from Cracow to the Eternal City as early as 1886. Two years later, the project of establishing a "Polish Scientific Center" in Rome was born. The idea was revived in 1912 by Count Józef Michałowski, a historian and lawyer living in Rome, who donated his valuable book collection to the PAU. The year 1921 saw the ceremonial handover of the library, numbering several thousand volumes, to the Academy, which was located in the rented premises of the Hospice. For years and with great commitment, Józef Michałowski took care of the Polish Library in Rome, and was the de facto director of the Scientific Center (1927-1946), a refuge for the Expeditio Romana expeditions resumed in 1922.  

In 1938, the station was moved to its current location, the nearby Doria Palace on Venice Square, where it found comfortable quarters for its already substantial book collection and for meetings held there.

World War II interrupted the Center's activities, and Count Michałowski managed through personal efforts to deposit the book collection in the Vatican Library and protect it from the threat of requisition.
After the war, in the absence of sources of funding, temporary management of the library collection was carried out by the British Interim Treasury Committee for Polish Affairs. Poland recovered the rescued collections and assets of the Scientific Center in 1946; as a consequence of the restrictions applied to the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences by the new state authorities, the Roman Center was taken over by the newly established (1952) Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk).

The Rome facility, whose Director after the war was Kazimierz Bulas (1947-1950), gradually began to regain its position in the Roman scientific community, and in 1956-1984, under the leadership of Professor Bronisław Biliński, it developed its activities more widely, undertaking cooperation with the Centro Nazionale delle Ricerche (National Research Council, NRC) and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, as well as with numerous Italian universities and scientific institutes, which continues to this day. After Professor Biliński, the Center was headed successively by Professors Tadeusz Rosłanowski (1984-1988), Tadeusz Kaczorek (1988-1991), Krzysztof Żaboklicki (1992-2004), Elżbieta Jastrzębowska (2005-2009), Leszek Kuk (2009-2013), and Piotr Salwa (2014-2019). Since 2022, Agnieszka Stefaniak-Hrycko has been the Director of the Center.

In 1962, the Center became a member of the International Union of Institutes of Archaeology, History and History of Art in Rome (Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di Archeologia, Storia e Storia dell'Arte), which brings together nearly 40 Italian and foreign scientific institutions. The Director of the Center from 1992 to 2005, Prof. Krzysztof Żaboklicki, was twice elected President of the Union (in 1997-1999 and 1999-2001).

The Italian-language series Conferenze, initiated by Prof. Biliński, began to print extended texts of selected papers presented at conferences held at the Center, and has published 147 volumes to date.

To this day, the PAS Scientific Center in Rome continues to be an important Polish accent in the Roman academic community and a landmark for scientists and researchers living in Italy, and especially in Rome.

Today's activities of the Polish Academy of Sciences - Scientific Center in Rome are defined by the Statute granted by the decision of the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, in which we read, among other things:

II. Object of the Center's activity

§ 4

  1. The Center contributes to the development of scientific cooperation, especially in the humanities and social sciences, and cultural exchange between the Republic of Poland and the Italian Republic, and cooperates in this regard with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Rome and the Polish Institute of Rome, as well as other Polish scientific and cultural institutions in Poland and Italy.
  2. The tasks of the Center include: The Center participates in the implementation of cooperation agreements between the Polish Academy of Sciences and other Polish scientific intsitutions and Italian scientific institutions, as well as provides opinions on projects to establish such cooperation.
    1. Popularizing the achievements of Polish science in Italy by organizing and co-organizing conferences, readings and lectures, seminars and workshops, panel discussions, as well as exhibitions and other events of a scientific and popular science nature;
    2. Providing assistance in contacts between Polish academics coming to Italy and Italian scientific institutions, as well as Italian academics in contacts with Polish institutions and academics;
    3. issuing newsletters or other scientific publications, as well as maintaining a website to provide information about the Center's activities.
  3. The Center maintains ongoing contacts with Italian scientists who are foreign members of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
  4. The Center submits conclusions and proposals on new directions for the development of Polish-Italian scientific cooperation.
  5. The Center provides informational and organizational assistance to Polish researchers residing in Italy in carrying out their scientific activities.
  6. The Center maintains contacts with selected international scientific organizations, especially in the humanities and social sciences, based in Italy - according to the arrangements of the bodies of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the nature and specificity of these organizations.
  7. The Center may carry out scientific research with a particular focus on the historical and archaeological sciences of the Mediterranean region with the participation of its employees who hold a title or degree.
  8. The Center maintains the Józef Michałowski Library for the needs of the Polish and Italian scientific communities.

(Statute of the Polish Academy of Sciences Scientific Center in Rome, Decision No. 29 of the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences dated June 11, 2012).