Home > Cinemathographers – Archival and Bibliographic Collections – Luigi Chiarini Library
Home > Cinemathographers – Archival and Bibliographic Collections – Luigi Chiarini Library


Archival and Bibliographic Collections – Luigi Chiarini Library

The Adolfo Bartoli collection – belonging to the successful director of photography and camera operator – was acquired by the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in November 2022. It consists mainly of printed documents related to his career from 1960 to 2022, and can be consulted upon advance request at the Chiarini Library. It includes pressbooks, press clippings, monographs, and magazine and periodical issues. Most prominently it features scriptments, treatments and screenplays, most of which have never been published before, for a grand total of more than 400 volumes. Among the many titles are Vittorio De Sica’s I girasoli (1970), Gruppo di famiglia in un interno (1974), the screenplay and production plan for Luchino Visconti’s L’innocente (1976), Cadaveri eccellenti (1976), the script draft for Cristo si è fermato a Eboli (1977), Diario napoletano (1992), La tregua (1994) by Francesco Rosi, L’Argent (1983) by Robert Bresson, La sposa americana (1986) by Mario Soldati, Pinocchio (1992) by Roberto Benigni, Miracolo a Palermo! (2005) by Beppe Cino, as well as several works by Spanish director José Maria Sanchez and Italian director and screenwriter Enzo G. Castellari.

An interesting section includes documents belonging to DOP Pasqualino De Santis, a 1948 CSC graduate who won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography with Franco Zeffirelli’s film Romeo e Giulietta (1968), which Bartoli received as a donation from De Santis’ wife. They include various papers received and sent by De Santis between 1958 and 1993, i.e. about ten letters, the contract for the film Misunderstood (L’ultimo sole d’estate) by Jerry Schatzberg, which was signed on October 11, 1983, as well as screenplays and press clippings of reviews of his films.

A list of screenplays is attached  and can also be searched in our catalogue.


Adolfo Bartoli (Rome, August 12, 1950) – DOP and camera operator, after his studies in Rome and London, he began working in Rome as an engineering technician for the US company Mole-Richardson, a manufacturer of projectors and lighting equipment for the film industry. His career continued as assistant to the most famous and qualified cinematographers of the twentieth century, including Pasqualino De Santis, Marcello Gatti, Tonino Delli Colli, Giuseppe Rotunno, Aldo and Giorgio Tonti, Gábor and Cristiano Pogány, Roberto D’Ettorre Piazzoli, Leon Shamroy, Goffrey Unsworth, Jack Hildyard, Ted Moore and Freddie Young. These years-long collaborations will solidify his expertise.

He would later go on to become the director of photography of numerous documentaries and feature films, including: Il grande Oceano di Capitan Cook (1984) by Gianfranco Bernabei, Rosso di Sera (1988) by Beppe Cino, Delta Force Commando (1988) by Frank Valenti (Pierluigi Ciriaci), Il rivale (1988) by Giulio Pedroni and Beyond the Door (1974) by Ovidio G. Assonitis. In the late 1990s he moved to the US and worked on several American films, such as: The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo (1997) by Dee McLachlan, Sabrina Goes to Rome (1988) by Tibor Takács, The Pit and the Pendulum (1991) by Stuart Gordon.

He was part of a large number of international productions for action, adventure and science fiction films. Most notably he worked as cinematographer for the second unit and as director of special effects for Roberto Benigni’s Pinocchio (1992). In 1992 he was appointed by the American Full Moon production company to establish the Castel Film studios in Bucharest, Romania, in collaboration with a Romanian group: here he shot nineteen films for Paramount and taught cinematography. In 2003 he returned to Italy and worked, among others, on the films Miracolo a Palermo! (2005) by Beppe Cino, Il mercante di stoffe (2009) by Antonio Baiocco, and the TV series Il bello delle donne (season 3, 2003) by Maurizio Ponzi, Carabinieri (season 5 and 6, 2006, 2007) by Sergio Martino, Un caso di coscienza (season 4 and 5, 2009-2010, 2013) by Luigi Perelli.

In August 2008 in Acireale he received the special “L’arte e il suo mestiere” prize by the Centro studi laboratorio d’arte from Catania and in May 2010 he won the best photography award with the film Il mercante di stoffe, in Messina at the Mostra del cinema dello stretto; other awards include: best photography in a TV drama with Un caso di coscienza 4, AIC Awards, Rome, June 2010, “Pasqualino De Santis” best photography award with Il mercante di stoffe, BAFF Festival, Milan, April 2011; “Gianni di Venanzo” Esposimetro d’oro international film photography award, with the film Il mercante di stoffe, Teramo, October 2011; “Amedeo Modigliani” award for film culture, Rome, August 2022.

This collection consists of 35 hand-written and typed documents. The bulk of it is made up of note-books with historical and anthropological information used by Serafin when making his documentaries.

Enzo Serafin (1912-1995) – Director of photography from 1942. From 1943 to 1949 he worked in Spain and was considered one of the greatest Italian specialists in his field. Over the course of his long career he collaborated with Michelangelo Antonioni in “I vinti” (1952), with Luigi Zampa in “La romana” (1954), with Roberto Rossellini in “Viaggio in Italia” (1954) and with Alberto Lattuada in “La steppa” (1962). During the 1950s and 1960s he worked on many American films. In 1953 he was awarded the Nastro d’argento. He was also a member of the Italian Association of Cinematographers. The “Serafin Prize” for the best director of photography has been established at the Venice Film Festival.

The printed archive, which was donated to the Centro Sperimentale in 2020, features the “Patents” collection, entirely dedicated to Alfredo Donelli’s work as a designer – both solo and in partnership with Edmondo Orlandi –  of film cameras, projectors and other sophisticated devices aimed at improving their performance. There are eighteen patents, filed between 1923 and 1955 and accompanied by executive designs, reports and original drafts, thirteen of which are of film cameras, including the Reporter, Avia, Novado and Truka. Each invention includes a register number and identifying elements such as the inventory, the date of application and charts describing the mechanical components and their functions. A subsection of the collection includes files of Italian and foreign magazines, rare photographic press books, monographs, a score, a 78 rpm disc and copies of various publications. These documents were collected and employed by his nephew, prof. Gianfranco Donelli, to illustrate Alfredo Donelli’s professional career and life in the book Alfredo Donelli, un pioniere del cinema italiano: friulano di nascita, romano d’adozione, caprese d’elezione (Alfredo Donelli, a pioneer of Italian cinema: Friulian by birth, Roman by adoption, Capri islander by heart). The volume also includes the files of his 43 films and biographical profiles of directors, actresses, actors, cameramen, set designers and authors with whom he had professional and friendly relations with. About five hundred photographic prints, negatives and plates and postcards are archived at the photo library, film footage is stored in the Cineteca.

Alfredo Donelli (1893- 1958) – Director of photography and assistant director, he worked with several film studios during the silent film era (Sicula Film in Catania, Floreal Film, Do.Re.Mi., Medusa Film and Monaldi Film). His filmography includes 43 motion pictures, which were shot between 1915 and 1930, and features collaborations with Lucio D’Ambra and his partnership with Alfredo De Antoni, as well as major blockbusters such as: Ben Hur (1924), Quo vadis? (1925) and Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei (1926). When the industry moved into the sound era, Donelli decided to focus exclusively on the design and production of film equipment. The patents he filed between 1923 and 1955 were used for about a decade by Cinemeccanica and, later, by Meccanica Cinematografica Donelli to produce film cameras which were built and sold until the late 1970s. The 1948 Venice Biennale celebrated his genius with the award of the Film Technique prize. During these years he designed and engineered the very first Italian 35 mm camera, the Novado, which marked a turning point for cameramen, who were now able to hold the machine without the need for a tripod.

Curt Courant e Alfredo Donelli sul set di "Quo vadis "1924
Curt Courant e Alfredo Donelli sul set di “Quo vadis “1924