The Agriculture Academy of Torino was founded on 24 May 1785 as the Società Agraria by a royal edict signed by the King of Sardinia, Victor Amadeus III.
Its objects were clearly set out in its first Charter:
"to promote for the public advantage the cultivation of lands mainly in His Majesty's happy dominions in accordance with rules both appropriate and in keeping with their varied nature"
The aim was thus to solve agricultural production and employment problems and draw an economic advantage therefrom in harmony with the enlightened and physiocratic thinking that prevailed in those days.
The Academy weathered the period when Piedmont was part of Napoleon's France unscathed. Under its new title Reale Società Agraria (Royal Agrarian Society) it became the Piedmontese and later the Italian government's official consultancy agency on agricultural matters. In 1868, seven years after the foundation of the kingdom of Italy, this function was taken over by the Consiglio Superiore d'Agricoltura in Rome.
The Società also provided scientific advice and instruction for farmers. From the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century and beyond, its activities ware conducted on the "Experimental garden of the Crocetta" and then on another plot in Turin's Valentino Park, which was used until the 1920s.
In 1927, the Academy took possession of a holding formed of about 30 hectares (12 acres) of land around Vezzolano Abbey in the province of Asti. This estate is now used for studies and experiments by the Italian National Research Council's Istituto per la Meccanizzazione Agricola (Agricultural Mechanization Institute).
One episode in the Academy's history that is worthy of note is its importation of Merino sheep from Spain at the end of the 18th centiry and their crossing with sheep from the province of Biella. This resulted in better quality wool and was also the start of the great development of Biella's wool industry.
Italy's first Prime Minister, Camillo Cavour, too, became a member in 1843. He is remembered for his personal supervision of his vineyards at Grinzane and the improvements in ricegrowing he introduced at Leri in the Vercellese country.
Other illustrious personalities have also been associated with the life of the Academy: the chemists Amedeo Avogadro and Ascanio Sobrero, the engineer Galileo Ferraris, the physician Giulio Bizzozzero, the veterinarian Edoardo Perroncito and Sebastiano Rivolta, and the economists Arrigo Serpieri and Luigi Einaudi, together with a long series of agronomists composed of Alessandro Faà di Bruno, Emilio Bertone di Sambuy, Luigi Arcozzi Masino, Ottavio Ottavi, Cosimo Ridolfi, Giovanni Dalmasso and many others.
The Academy's extensive collection of printed works is composed of specialised books and articles, together with the proceedings of its monthly meetings with their illustrations of the progress of agriculture and the scientific and technical papers read to its members on these occasions.
The Academy's premises also house a pomology collection consisting of the artificial fruits produced in the 19th century by a veritable artist, Francesco Garnier Valletti.
Among the achievements of the Academy was its promotion of the establishment of a Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Turin (approved by the University and the Municipality in 1936), and a degree course in Forest Science in 1980.
The Academy is currently engaged on the study of a number of issues. The results of its research are made known through papers and meetings directed to the propr use of the land and its agricultural resources with a view to meeting the pressing need to maintain a liveable environment in which the relationship between man and nature is not disturbed.
The Accademia dei Georgofili is an independent no profit institution, acting the role of a public service to the agricultural society, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The leading bodies of the Academy are: the President, who represents the Academy officially, the Academic Council and the Assembly of the Academy Ordinary and Emeritus Members. The Council consists of President, two Vice-Presidents and eight Counselors. The Academy activity, in its financial, content planning, monitoring and daily aspects, is regulated by the Counsel. Within the Academy Sections, on specific thematic areas, Committees, Centers, Institutes may be created for better fulfillment of the Academy objectives and carrying out the working programs.
The Academy was founded in 1753, with the objective to carry out continuous and well regulated experiments and observations, so as to perfect the art of cultivation in Tuscany. This was the first example in Europe of a public association of “minds bent on the perfecting of agriculture”. For two centuries the Academy has always been an important voice in the national technical and political debates on agriculture. More recently the Accademia has been facing the new problems of agriculture in the world, which in the Georgofili tradition means all Mankind relationship with the planet natural environment.
The Accademia aims are the following:
- Contributing to the progress of science and their application to the agricultural sector in a broad sense;
- Supporting initiatives for the protection of environment and land, development of the rural communities.
The Accademia activities consist of:
- Competitions and awards;
The Accademia publications are the following:
- Exhibition catalogues;
According to the renewed Statute, the Academy members are subdivided into the following categories: Ordinary, Honorary, Corresponding, Supporters and Associated Institutions. Proposals for the nomination are made by the Counsel and approved by the Assembly. Ordinary members can not exceed the number of 150, while the corresponding members can not be more than 250 (Italian members) and 100 (foreign members). The title of “Associated institutions” – a quite new category – may be given to any Italian or foreign institution having similar interests.
- FRANCO SCARAMUZZI - President
- FIORENZO MANCINI - Vice President
- LAPO MAZZEI - Vice President
- FRANCESCO BONCIARELLI - Counselor
- LUIGI COSTATO - Counselor
- CARLO GALOPPINI - Counselor
- GIUSEPPE GIOIA - Counselor
- MARIO LUCIFERO – Administrative delegate
- GIAMPIERO MARACCHI - Counselor
- GIUSEPPE PELLIZZI - Counselor
- GIUSEPPE STEFANELLI – Counsel Secretary