Autonomous research into the history of the state and of Hungarian civilization began in Rome in 1880 when Pope Leo XIII opened the Vatican Secret Archives.
The promoter and founder of the first secular institute was Vilmos Fraknói (1843-1924), a canon of Nagyvárad and a member of the Budapest Academy of Sciences.
To ensure adequate accommodation for scholars coming from Hungary to Rome, Fraknói purchased land in the Nomentano district and had a building built there as a seat of the Hungarian Historical Institute in 1894.
Later, still on the initiative of Fraknói, another building arose, where an Academy of Fine Arts for Hungarian artists in Rome (the current Embassy of Hungary to the Holy See) was established.
After the trauma of the division of Hungary following the fall of the monarchy, the new Hungarian government wanted to open new "doors" to Europe.
Thus, in 1928, the Minister of Cult and Education decided to purchase Palazzo Falconieri in Via Giulia and, after some reconstruction and restoration work, the newly formed Royal Academy of Hungary in Rome opened its own activities along three lines: historical studies, artistic and theological promotion.
Among the members of the Academy and among its guests we find the greatest scholars, writers, painters and Hungarian sculptors of the thirties and forties and, in those same decades, the so-called Római Iskola, an artistic current, takes shape in the premises of the Academy close to the Italian Novecentism and, indeed, to the Roman School.
But this scientific-artistic prosperity ceased in 1950.
The Academy of Hungary in Rome became part of the Embassy and was deprived of its autonomous and independent scientific and artistic character and assumed, during the years of the cold war, mainly propaganda functions.
Today the Academy continuously hosts scholarship holders who are artists, students and scholars and within it are systematically held conferences and round tables, concerts and film screenings, becoming so numerous opportunities for direct contact between intellectuals, scholars and the most important artists of the two countries, which makes the Academy of Hungary a real meeting point between the two cultures, as well as a crucial point to continue the research and protection of Hungarian memories in Italy.