Founded in 1933 in the Castello Sforzesco by Luca Beltrami (1854-1933), architect, art historian, politician, photographer and fine collector of photographs, the Civic Photographic Archive of Milan, is one of the most important Italian institutes dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of  photographic heritage. It preserves around 1.300.000 original photographs dating from 1840 to the present day, relating to historical-artistic and architectural heritage, urban, social and political history, landscape, exploration, the history of theatre, cinema, design and fashion. The Beltrami Collection was the first collection to arrive, consisting of photographic campaigns on historical-artistic heritage promoted and agreed upon by Beltrami with many photographers, including Antonio Paoletti, his trusted photographer. These early nuclei were  then joined by the Iconographic Collection, composed by Giorgio Nicodemi (1891-1967) and Costantino Baroni (1905-1956), directors of the Civic Museums, dedicated to the artistic heritage, some funds of the 'Achille Bertarelli' Collection and the Museo del Risorgimento. The Photographic Archive is thus the result of progressive sedimentation of funds, collections and collections. The first conservation and valorisation projects date back to 1999, with the start of scientific computer cataloguing (it was in 1999 that photography was recognised in Italy as a "cultural asset" with Legislative Decree 490/1999, later the Cultural Heritage Code). Since then, the Institute has continued to acquire important photographic fonds and archives, consistent with its history and mission, promoting knowledge through conservation, cataloguing and valorisation activities. Since 2002, the Institute has opened up to the contemporary, favouring acquisitions of archives and photographic fonds linked to the city of Milan, its history and the photographers who have worked there since the Second World War, attracted by economic development and in particular by the sectors of publishing, illustrated periodicals, agencies, industry and advertising studios.