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National Club Alpino Italiano Library



Salita al CAI Torino, 12 - Monte dei Cappuccini, 10131 Torino
Tel: 011-660-3849 - Fax: 011-631-4070
Head Librarian: Dr. Alessandra Ravelli
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-6:45; Wednesday and Friday 9:15-3:00
Closed: Monday, Saturday and Sunday, National holidays and the two central weeks of August.


How to consult the CAI National Library catalogue on-line:

The books catalogued up to 2005 can be found at Since 2006, the library has been part of the National Library Service (SBN) where all periodicals and the new acquisitions are listed and can be consulted as well as on OPAC National (, at Librinlinea ( Click on “Accesso Librinlinea”, to open the search form where you can select from “individual libraries” or CAI National and it is possible to restrict the search to volumes in our library.


– coordinated by the CAI Sectional Library, founded in 2000 by the initiative of the CAI National Library and The SAT Mountain Library, recently placed in the National Technical Central Library Body, has its own site: that is an exchange tool and supported by librarians and volunteer clerks.

The Library was founded in 1863, right after the Club Alpino was founded.  During the first assembly on October 23, 1863 in Castello del Valentino, the Founding Members affirmed that the Club need to publish and gather documents and just a few days later allocated funds to purchase books.
Thanks to an agreement with the Accademia delle Scienze, the Club Alpino was entrusted with the weather station and obtained use of a sentry box at Castello del Valentino from the Public Instruction Ministry that was the library’s first home.
The National CAI Library has been recognized internationally as a specialized library and houses fundamental publications for mountain knowledge from all over the world, rare works and scarce magazines, maps and a collection of manuscripts.
The library collection has more than 24,000 works and includes some volumes from the 1500s and 1600s, and many from the 1700s, the mountaineering classics, scientific studies, ethnographic books, linguistic books and iconographic books.  It house the principle works from “other lands” from various points of views including “De Alpibus commentaries” by Josias Simler, published in Zurich in 1574 and the most recent mountaineering, hiking, rock climbing skiing and spelunking guides.
From the beginning of the Club, reporting about mountaineering and international scientific communities was a clear goal.  Upon this premise, the fundamental works were purchased, often autographed by the authors including Walton, Tuckett, Budden, Whymper and Irving.

The library houses Alpine magazines from all over the world including “The Alpine Journal a Sangaku”, many of which were published in the second half of the 1800s and are available in the complete collection and rare books like Il Giornale delle Alpi, Appennini e vulcani. Recently, all the periodicals have been catalogued and inserted in OPAC of the National Library Service (SBN); approximately 1,300 titles with more than 16,500 editions, approximately 600, 185 of which recently, were published by CAI Local Branches and groups.
The Piedmont Superintendent has almost finished reorganizing the collection, which includes manuscripts coming form personal and sectional collections, historical archives like those of CAAI, correspondence from mountaineers like Budden, Bobba, Cibrario, Ferrand, Coolidge, Rey, Gaillard and Fantin.
The CAI National Library has always had it headquarters in Turin at the Turin Section.  Since 2003, after moving to Monte dei Cappuccini, the Document Area of the National Museum of the Mountains "Duca degli Abruzzi" has also been there.

 The National Central Library Commission, guided by the President of CAI or a delegate, is in Turin at the library and provides cultural guidance.  The operational management, including Library personnel, based on an agreement between the headquarters and the Turin Section, has been entrusted to the National Museum of the Mountains.
The following principle services are offered by the library: book research, photocopies or scanned documents dispatched, book borrowing with the limits as foreseen by the regulations.
The reproduction of the works is permitted according the copyright laws in force.
Photocopies of original manuscripts and rare or priceless books, volumes in bad condition or that could be damaged are not available.


Sede centrale del CAI

Via E. Petrella, 19 - 20124 Milano - Tel. 02/2057231 - Fax 02/205723201 - posta elettronica certificata
P.IVA 03654880156
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