Visiting Rome: the historical libraries
Rome offers many different routes. Have you ever thought about dedicating a day of your vacation in Rome to discover the historical libraries? The Urbs is not only the Colosseum and St. Peter's Basilica, and all the other monuments making Rome globally famous, such as the Fontana di Trevi, the Vatican Museums and the Pantheon. Among the hidden treasures of the Italian capital, there are the Roman libraries, not very unknown by the majority of the tourists but equally deserving a careful examination.
Despite their lack of visibility, the libraries of Rome can be compared to the artistic valuable museums and theatres in the city. The first public library dates back to the 39 B.C., by Asinius Pollio. Nothing left of the original structure of the library. On the other hand, its secrets are still largely preserved in the most important libraries in Rome open to the public. Here, you will find a detailed list of Roman libraries to visit during a stay in Rome. These include the Biblioteca Casanatense, the Biblioteca Angelica, the Accademia dei Lincei, the Bibliotheca Hertziana, the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, the Biblioteca della Società geografica italiana and the Biblioteca del Quarticciolo.
The Biblioteca Casanatense is one of Rome's most famous historical libraries. It got its name by Girolamo Casanate - Italian Cardinal - who ordered its built in the early eighteenth century, next to the Roman College. At the time of his built, the library contained about 25000 volumes, the same donated by Cardinal Casanate to the Dominican order entrusted with the care of the building. In the following years, the Casanatense library catalogue was enriched with several other works, so much so that today it has about 400,000 volumes and more than 6000 manuscripts. After about 300 years after its foundation, the library has become an integral part of the Ministry of cultural heritage and tourism of the city of Rome. The building has hosted several exhibitions over the last few years, including those dedicated to Kepler, Huygens and Newton, referring to the scientific literature. If you want to visit the Biblioteca Casanatense, the opening hours are: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8.30am till 7.30pm, Tuesday and Friday from 8.30am to 3pm.
The Biblioteca Angelica is one of Rome's most famous historical libraries. Its opening dates back to the early 17th century, by Angelo Rocca - Augustinian Bishop. It is located next to the Church of Sant'Agostino, in the square. Just inside the public library you can enjoy the reading room, built by the famous architect Luigi Vanvitelli. The beauty of the hall can hardly be described in words. You should just know the hall is comparable to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, two masterpieces of Italian art. It is a fundamental step if you are curious to discover one of the most important saints thoughts of the whole Catholic Church. Inside of the Biblioteca Angelica, you can find the lyrics of many works of Saint Augustine, also known as Doctor Gratiae, who was Berber Bishop and theologians.
Biblioteca dell'Accademia dei Lincei
The library of the Academy of Lincei boasted a partner of excellence: Galileo Galilei. Inside the Roman library, you can actually find several manuscripts by the father of modern science for his innovative scientific method. The library of the Accademia dei Lincei is situated between the Botanical Garden and the Palazzo della Farnesina, the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international cooperation. Inside, it has hosted some of the greatest scientific thinkers of history, including Albert Einstein and Louis Pasteur.
The library was founded by the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft society, by the will of Henriette Hertz, a Jewish patron, at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is one of the most interesting libraries for those who love art history. Therefore, if you are interested in finding out what are the secrets the Hertz Library preserves, a visit is almost a must. It is located near the gardens of Lucullus, inside the Palazzo Zuccari. Every two years, finally, the library awards the prize for whoever becomes the protagonist of exceptional merit in the arts.
Vatican Apostolic Library
The Vatican Library, originally built in the fourth century, is one of the most important historical libraries not only in Rome but across the world. It contains an exceptional heritage of manuscripts - about 80000 - , so many to compete with another literary giant, the famous library in the monastery of Saint Catherine in Sinai - in Egypt. Like the Hertziana Library, its access is difficult for non-professionals.
Biblioteca della Società geografica italiana
The Palazzetto Mattei hosts the Library of the Italian geographic Society. When you will be in front of the library, know you are going to enter in one of the most important libraries in Italy. If you love geography, inside of the Library of the Italian geographic Society you will find more than 400 volumes of geography. The two reading rooms of the library are opened to anyone wants to discover to the cultural richness of a library in the shadow of other more famous buildings of the Eternal City, but not less important.
Biblioteca del Quarticciolo
Unlike the others listed above, the Library of the Quarticciolo is the symbol of all those managed by the municipality where the watchword is "community" and where you can breathe the same dignity compared to the others have in the city of Rome. We recommend you to visit the Library of the Quarticciolo to realize how a structure outside the basic route can be able to surprise you. Reading gets less important than listening, making the difference among the libraries described above.
Do you want to stay in Rome?
For this location we recommend The Inn At The Roman Forum, a luxury residence in the center of Rome with a modern design.