The Polar Geographic Institute


Silvio Zavatti

The Polar Geographical Institute “Silvio Zavatti” was founded by Silvio Zavatti himself in 1944 in Forlì, with the aim of “promoting the knowledge and dissemination of polar themes and organizing scientific expeditions in the polar regions.

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Founded in Forlì in 1944

The Polar Geographical Institute “Silvio Zavatti” was founded by Silvio Zavatti himself in 1944 in Forlì, with the aim of “promoting the knowledge and dissemination of polar themes and organizing scientific expeditions in the polar regions.


founded by Silvio Zavatti in 1969, which exhibits all the scientific material collected by Zavatti during his expeditions to the poles


quarterly magazine that has been published continuously since 1944, with the aim of disseminating the main polar scientific researches


a documentation center consisting of around 3,000 monographs on a polar theme and around 20,000 journals, extracts and articles.


a non-profit association, founded to support the activities of the Institute and the Museum.


The Polar Geographic Institute

The Polar Geographic Institute “Silvio Zavatti” was founded by Silvio Zavatti himself (link alla pagina di Zavatti) in 1944 to Forlì with the aim to promote the knowledge and the dissemination on polar matters and to organize scientific expeditions to Polar Regions.
The Geographic Polar Institute consisting of:

  • the Polar Museum, founded by Silvio Zavatti in 1969, showing all the scientific material collected by Zavatti during his polar expeditions,
  • the Magazine IL Polo, a quarterly magazine continuously published since 1944, with the aim to disseminate the main polar scientific researches,
  • the Polar Library, a documentation centre, consisting of 3000 monographs on polar matter, and about 20000 magazines, extracts, and newspaper pieces,
  • the Association “Friends of the Polar Museum”, which is a no-profit association, founded to sustain the Polar Institute and Museum activities.

Describing the Polar Geographic Institute history is how to tell on Silvio Zavatti’s life, his polar expeditions, his publications and the magazine Il Polo. Thanks to the publication and the exchange of this bulletin, the Polar Institute enriched with documents, manuscript, reports, and, especially, with other magazines on polar matter coming from all over the world.
This exchange allowed Zavatti to establish letter and not-letter relationships with several governments, public and private institutions, universities and associations in order to receive suggestions and to hold collaborations. The Geographic American Society, the Nippon Polar Research Institute, Les Les Expéditions Polaires Françaises, the Archiv für deutsche Polarforshung, the Scott Polar Research Institute and many others, are the main collaborators.
Silvio Zavatti was never completely appreciate as scientific researcher. Therefore, he had to face several difficulties to promote the activities of the Institute. As Director of a private institute, he never could have substantial financial supports from public institutions. Nevertheless, he was able to support his six polar expeditions out of his own pocket, by using also the incomings of the membership cards of the Institute.
In 1949, Silvio Zavatti set a travelling exhibit in many cities of Marche, by showing images and testimonies of several polar explorers, in order to present the institute and to raise funds for polar explorations. After years of efforts and failed attempts, Zavatti succeeded in organizing the first expedition of the Polar Geographic Institute on the Bouvet Island, in Antarctica. After this, he would arrange five expeditions to the North Pole.
With the material collected during his expeditions to the Poles, in 1969, Silvio Zavatti opened the Polar Museum in Civitanova Marche, his residence city.
In 1971, the Polar Geographic Institute organized in Civitanova Marche an International Polar Meeting, the first in Italy. Worldwide researchers took part to this meeting to talk about the activities of the Arctic Research Centres. These Centres were built with the aim to make known the polar world and to some unresolved problems (e.g. the origins of several pre-Colombian people, the dialect study, the Inuit social-economic state) (from Terre lontane, i diari inediti di Silvio Zavatti, by Luigi Martellini, Ed. SetteCittà, 2010).

In 1983, the Polar Museum and the Library closed due to disagreements with the council administration of Civitanova Marche. Zavatti took back all the Polar Institute material. In 1993, after Silvio Zavatti’s death, the Polar Geographic Institute, the Polar Museum and the Library were bought by the City of Fermo, with the previous agreement with Zavatti’s family.
During the 40th anniversary of Zavatti expedition to Greenland, the Polar Geographic Institute organized two missions, one in September 2002 and one in March 2003, to reach the Angmagssalik district. Within the framework of the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008, two more expeditions, in 2005 and in 2007, were organized with CNR-Polarnet collaboration.
After Silvio Zavatti’s death, the Association Polar Museum Friends, supported by the city of Fermo, together with several Directors, who turned to the guide of the Polar Geographic Institute, continued the spirit and the principles on which the Institute was founded. The main Institute objectives are the Polar Region study, the Inuit culture and tradition outreach, the polar expeditions planning to enrich the museum collection and, finally, the publication of a specialized magazine, Il Polo.
All the scientific and historical material collected by the Polar Geographic Institute is available to be consulted and studied, by previous authorization of the Institute Director.
The Polar Geographic Institute collaborates with several Italian Universities. Therefore, it is willing to host students for the First cycle Degree, Master Degree and Ph.D. dissertations about Silvio Zavatti explorations and the Institute Archive, for information and details please contact the Institute Director.

since 1945

Zavatti Archive and
The Polo revised

Through the splendid halls with frescoed ceilings of Palazzo Paccaroni you will find yourself catapulted into the camp of a polar explorer, among tents, sledges and crates carefully arranged and ready for the long journey through the icy winds and glaciers of the far North. Venturing among polar bears, reindeer, arctic foxes, narwhals, walruses, seals, whales, you can finally rest in the tranquil Inuit villages. You will come into contact with the culture, art, dance and traditions of a people that so fascinated Silvio Zavatti that he became the champion and a staunch defender of their rights.