Dr Vito Platania (1927-2016) was born in Turin, the son of an Italian father and a Hungarian mother. He spent his childhood and youth in Budapest, where he was educated, from primary school through to university. In 1984, after a two-year course and following the consolidation of the communist regime, he decided to suspend his studies to move to Italy and pursue them in Florence.
In 1952 he took his degree and worked for over thirty years at Fondiaria in Florence.
He started getting interested in fire marks in 1988, travelling through half of Italy to collect them personally but always with the idea of creating a systematic catalogue of Italian fire marks similar to those already existing in Great Britain and Germany.
His next step was to study the history of the insurance companies to which the fire marks he had collected referred and in order to do so he consulted the material of numerous Libraries and State Archives.
His catalogue of The fire marks in Italy was published in Florence in 1997 and in 2005 a second enlarged edition - called La raccolta di targhe incendio - was printed, further enriched with new fire marks complete with the Aggiornamenti (Updates) which are available on this site.
More recently dr Platania completed an extremely valuable work of research and study called Manuale delle targhe incendio in Ungheria. As is apparent when browsing through the volume, this is an exceptional one-of-a-kind work as it documents the history of all insurance companies engaged in fire insurance in Hungary, therefore including the ones for which no fire marks have yet been found.