The photo archive includes about 21,000 items: actors' photos in stage costume, portraits of actors, playwrights, writers, musicians, companies, stage photos. The oldest part, made up of some 7,000 photos, comes from Rasi's collection. The archive consists mostly of positive black-and-white prints, only the stage photos purchased after 1990 are in colour.
Many are the portraits of late 19th and first 20th century actors: Eleonora Duse, Tina Di Lorenzo, Irma and Emma Gramatica, Lyda Borelli, Virginia Marini, Virginia Reiter, Giacinta Pezzana, Ernesto Rossi, Tommaso Salvini, Ermete Zacconi, Ermete Novelli, Ruggero Ruggeri, only to cite the most famous.
There are besides photos of great documentary value, such as those of Alfieri's Oreste performed together by the companies of Teatro dei Fiorentini and Teatro del Fondo in 1863, with Tommaso Salvini; Una partita a scacchi by G. Giacosa with the Compagnia Bellotti-Bon (1873); some premières of D'Annunzio's plays (Francesca da Rimini, La figlia di Iorio); some hundreds of stage photos of the Thirties, coming from the Ministery for Press and Propaganda, and the collection Gastone Bosio, referring to 650 plays performed in Italy from 1945 to the end of Fifties.
The range of photo archive extends therefore from the second half of 1800 till the current season. From the season 1990-91 onwards a selection of colour pictures (about 200) of the main productions is yearly purchased. Besides the editorial office of the yearbook "Teatro in Italia" hands us on every year the photo documentation gathered for the print of the volume.