The letters preserved in the Pompeo Mariani Archives ©, are perhaps among the most important assets of the entire collection. Their number, still undefined and under investigation (anyhow, the number is in the region of tens of thousands of pages, most of which have already been digitised), gives us a fascinating and, most importantly, reliable socio-artistic puzzle. The writings, excluding intimate messages and family matters, allow us to glimpse some artistic discussions that ran between Mariani and his colleagues, such as Domenico Morelli, Giuseppe De Nittis, Emilio Gola, Luca Beltrami, Eleuterio Pagliano, Vittore Grubicy de Dragon, Pellizza da Volpedo, i Bazzaro brother, Aldo Carpi – just to name a few (the indexing is still underway). These are letters discussing exhibitions and salons, judgements about critics and colleagues – some flattering, some outright scathing, arrangements with collectors and gallery owners – an extraordinarily vivid kaleidoscope of artist’s passions and troubles. Far from idle voyeuristic curiosity, these documents give us a sensation of reality of that epoch, a deep flavour of history and of a life lived.