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Associazione Orlando

The Orlando Association is an established feminist organization in Bologna, with a school, documentation center and library, an internet café, and partnership programs with women's groups in other countries.


Dott.ssa Annamaria Tagliavini
Biblioteca del Centro Documentazione delle Donne
Palazzo dei Notai
Via de' Pignattari 1
40124 Bologna
Tel +39-051-23-97-88
Fax +39-051-26-34-60
Website Server Donne

Luisa Passerini

Raffaella Lamberti

Mission Statement

Orlando was formed to combine research with political activism by building a public institution run by women for women, that can preserve women's cultural productions and research; collect and share documents and resources about women and cultural production; establish political and cultural networks of various kinds among women at the local, national, and global levels; and rethink the relationship between personal life and political activity.


  • Italian National Women's Library (Centro di Documentazione delle Donne)
  • Server Donne: a women's Internet server and Internet café
  • Hannah Arendt School of Politics: a training school
  • Women in Difficult Places: partnership programs

 History and Accomplishments

Orlando was founded in 1979 by feminist researchers and activists in Bologna. Seeking to build a stable organizational base, they followed an innovative strategy, very controversial at the time, of seeking government funding from the city of Bologna and the province of Emilia Romagna, both of which had progressive governments for many years. This strategy enabled Orlando to build a substantial infrastructure and initiate valuable programs without in any way compromising its independence. Its library and documentation center (the only one of its kind in Italy) contains over 25,000 books and has subscriptions to 350 periodicals from many countries. It operates its own Internet server (Server Donne), which provides access to the web for many organizations and individuals, while its Internet café trains women to be "cyberfeminists." It operates its own training school, the Hannah Arendt School of Politics, that develops programs to teach politicians a gender perspective, with funding from the European Union.

Since 1988, Orlando has been providing political and technical assistance to feminist organizations in Israel-Palestine, North Africa, and Eastern Europe through its program, "Women in Difficult Places." This program began with partnerships with the Women's Center in Nablus and Women in Black in Jerusalem; later, in 1994, Orlando helped set up the women's library at Birzeit University, in the West Bank. In the early 1990s, Orlando began intensive work with three feminist organizations in the former Yugoslavia, dealing largely with issues of violence against women, and more recently developed a partnership with the two women's organizations in Albania. Algeria has been one of Orlando's top priorities; they have brought leading Algerian feminists to Italy to discuss their struggle for freedom and are working with Khalida Messaoudi (a feminist Member of Parliament under death threat from Algerian fundamentalists) to set up a women's center. Orlando's partnership program with Women's WORLD, to document the stories of Albanian women in Kosovo, is a natural outgrowth of this program.

Italian Program