"In Italy there is not enough desire to get rich through work and savings. A general inactivity reigns not only in the economic field, but also in the scientific, literary and political fields. This quietism is the death of a nation "so Quintino Sella on March 30, 1868 describes the political, social and economic situation of Italy in the aftermath of Unity. A situation that will try to change in all ways, especially after the entry of Rome into the Kingdom of Italy and its assumption to capital. Precisely the man that the history books handed down as the person responsible for the "tax on the ground", the man of budget balance, was the one who is most committed to a cultural and civil recovery of the nation.

It is he who takes up, re-launches and tries to realize the Risorgimento idea of a "third Rome", after that of the Caesars and that of the popes, a "cosmopolitan for Rome: science" project, he wrote to Mommsen in 1871. This The project is divided into several stages: the renewal of the academic body of the University of Rome, the relaunch of the Accademia dei Lincei, the construction of a science museum and the construction of the national library.