Grammo-foni. Le soffitte della voce ( spotted, collected, digitised, catalogued, transcribed oral material recorded by scholars and amateurs in Tuscany.

Via this portal, provides an incredibly rich repository of Tuscan oral documents that have so far remained invisible: tales, proverbs, songs, interviews, ethno-texts, linguistic questionnaires, and much more. We hope to be able to include documents coming from other regions in the future. was conducted by Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa & University of Siena and was financed by Regione Toscana (PAR FAS 2007-2013).


The Project


  • The sound documents collected in the past are in danger, due to carriers deterioration and recording systems obsolescence;
  • They constantly run the risk of sinking into oblivion, because many existing archives are unknown and/or inaccessible;
  • Oral archives are a precious resource for many research domains (linguistics, anthropology, economy, sociology, politics, history, etc.);
  • Oral archives can be profitably used in various non-academic fields (schools, libraries, ethnological museums);
  • Italy is extremely rich in sound documents and therefore constitutes an ideal research laboratory.

What did do?

Stages of work:

  • Census of Tuscan oral archives;
  • Contact with oral archives' owners to co-sign a legal agreement for temporary borrowing of the recordings and accompanying materials;
  • Collection, digitisation, and possible restoration of the materials;
  • Analysis of the oral documents (through careful cataloguing and partial transcriptions);
  • Implementation of a downloadable online database.

What did produce? ‘saved' archives not only by digitising and eventually restoring the carriers, but also by cataloguing the documents: careful cataloguing allows anybody interested in these topics to take advantage of a large quantity of first-hand materials. produces scientific contributions: publications.

Similar projects

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Circolo Gianni Bosio -

Archivio Istituto De Martino -

Scottish Sound Archive -

Città degli Archivi -



In Archivi you can find a complete list of the archives preserved in, together with their description, organisation in subsections, duration, and the "Tell something about your archive" interview. The so-called "fondi" are subsections of the archives, and "serie" subsections of "fondi".

Oral archives are a precious resource: linguists, anthropologists, ethnographers, oral historians have spent years collecting materials that deserve safeguarding and circulation. Nevertheless, the need for circulation of documents can clash with some inviolable rights (copyright, right to privacy, right to individual oblivion) that can be claimed by those whose voices are recorded in the documents or even by those who are simply mentioned by the informants.

Therefore, only provides the initials (rather than the full names) of the informants and of the people mentioned in the recordings. In addition, three different types of consultation are possible depending on the presence of confidential data in the documents:

  • Full consultation via web portal – for documents that do not contain any confidential information, it is possible to read the full summaries and download the full sound documents, the accompanying materials and the transcriptions (if available).
  • Partial consultation via web portal – documents containing some confidential data (less than 90% of the total recording time) are edited in two different versions: a full version, only available for consultation in the laboratory, and a partial version, with edited summary and partial mp3 file, available on the web portal.
  • Consultation in the Laboratory – documents mostly consisting of confidential data (over 90% of the total recording time) are accessible on the web portal only through an edited summary, while the mp3 file is only available for direct consultation in the Laboratory.

If the accompanying material contains confidential data, it is available for consultation in the laboratory, while the transcriptions (if available), are accessible on the web portal after removal of the confidential data.



Two distinct types of search are supported:

  • by linguistic area (an interactive map allows the users to click on the area of interest and access the corresponding records) – via the page Aree;
  • by content (i.e. by topic, genre and type of document, date and place of recording, language variety) – via the page Ricerca.