The Historical Archives of the Specola are kept at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Bologna.
The Archives collect scientific and administrative documents of the institution founded by Count Luigi Ferdinando Marsili in 1711 as Specola of the Istituto delle Scienze. The earliest documents date back to 1679; astronomical observations from 1655 are available.
The Specola was planned under the direction of Eustachio Manfredi (1674-1739), and it was the first public astronomical institution in Bologna and the third in Europe, coming after the observatories in Paris (1667) and Greenwich (1675), and contemporary to that one in Berlin.
Afterwards the Specola followed the institutional events of the Istituto delle Scienze, until the early 19th century belonging to the University. A list of Directors till the half of 20th century is provided.