For almost fifty years, the spirit and core values of the Italian Geological Society have been preserved with the help of a particular person: its historical General Secretary Achille Zuccari (1926-2015). In 2016, after long time, a general assembly of the scientific institution firstly took place without that bow-tie wearing gentleman and his inseparable Tuscan cigar. The History of Geology Section has therefore organized a commemoration during the 88th SGI Meeting in Naples, collecting testimonies of Achille’s colleagues and friends. Born in Rome in 1926, he spent his childhood in Littoria (nowadays Latina) and then moved to Rome obtaining his high school diploma at “Cavour” Scientific Lyceum. As a working student (since 1952, he was employee of the national telephone company), Zuccari graduated in Geological Sciences at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1959, under the supervision of Carmelo Maxia, with a thesis on the geology of middle Aniene River valley. In 1962, he married Anna Tilia, a girl met in the childhood, who became a micropaleontologist and stratigrapher under the guide of Angiola Maria Maccagno. In the same year, President Antonio Segni appointed Zuccari “Cavaliere della Repubblica Italiana”. In the earlier part of his career, he published a few papers concerning the geomorphology of the Aniene Basin, contributing in those years to the development of the discipline in central Italy, in cooperation with Elvidio Lupia Palmieri and Giancarlo Avena. In the ‘60s, he was assistant of Roberto Colacicchi and joined the Italian Glaciological Committee, participating to several scientific campaigns during that decade. At the end of this period, he passed the qualifying examination for teaching. Member of the Italian Geological Society since 1955, he was firstly Treasurer and Secretary (1967-69) and then, continuously from 1970 to 2011, General Secretary. Because of the charge, since 1967 he was also Editorial Manager of the SGI publications. In our vision, progress of science depends from the contribution of all the members of a community, including those working not in the spotlight. Achille Zuccari was the perfect example of such a lifestyle. Thus, the History of Geology Section, celebrating its fifth anniversary, decided to dedicate this Special Volume “Three centuries of geology in Italy” of the “Rendiconti online della Società Geologica Italiana” to his memory.