History of the Institute

The Norwegian Institute in Rome has served as a research resource and base for Norwegian scholars and students since 1959.

Utsnitt, Cividale

It all began with a church

The beginnings of the Norwegian Institute in Rome relate to the pioneering work on the so-called Lombard ‘Tempietto’ in Cividale del Friuli (Northern Italy). This is a church from the 8th century adorned with rich reliefs and frescoes. Pioneering work on this church was undertaken by the collaboration of Professor Hans Peter L’Orange, the Danish archaeologist Ejnar Dyggve, along with younger workers and students. Among these was Hjalmar Torp, who would later become a professor of art history and a director of the Norwegian Institute in Rome. It was through the Norwegian researcher’s study of this period of art history that their work gained international recognition. The Norwegian’s interest in “Il Tempietto Longobardo” received wide coverage in Italian media, to the extent that Hans Peter L’Orange and Hjalmar Torp became honorary citizens of Cividale in 2006.

Founding of the Institute

On 13 February 1959 the Senate of the University of Oslo created the Norwegian Institute in Rome in order to establish a permanent Norwegian research base for the study of Mediterranean culture and history. The Institute forms a part of the Humanities Faculty. The creation of the Institute was made possible by the generous support of various donors, and in particular the ship owners Nils Astrup and Thomas Fearnley. The Institute began operating in an apartment situated on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele 209 (Rome centre) under the leadership of Professor Hans Peter L’Orange. In 1962 the Institute moved into its current building situated on the Gianicolense Hill overlooking Rome.

For art historians, classical archaeologists and others with an interest in the Mediterranean

The many educational programs, research projects, library services it provides, positions the Institute as a bridge for Norwegian scholars to Italy and the Mediterranean. While the Institute’s facilities cater primarily to art historians and classical archaeologists, scholars and students from other disciplines with interests in the Mediterranean make use of the Institute as a research base.

The Institute’s directors since its inception are the following:

  • Christopher Prescott (2017 - present)
  • Turid Karlsen Seim (2007-2015)
  • Siri Sande (2003-2007)
  • J. Rasmus Brandt (1996-2002)
  • Magne Malmanger (1990-1996)
  • Staale Sinding-Larsen (1983-1989)
  • Hjalmar Torp (1977-1983)
  • Per Jonas Nordhagen (1973-1976)
  • Hans Peter L'Orange (1959-1973)
Published Jan. 22, 2015 4:29 PM - Last modified Feb. 28, 2018 2:57 PM