Vatican Library

Vatican Library

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About Vatican Library

The Vatican can boast a significant collection of books and manuscripts from practically every century, despite the great number of creative marvels that it still has. Find out more about one of the first Roman libraries by taking a closer look at this area of the Vatican. The Vatican Library has been collecting books, manuscripts, and papers of all kinds for centuries. Because of this, this location may be regarded as one of the world's largest libraries, and you might discover whatever you're looking for there.

The Vatican Library Collection is home to the renowned Codex Vaticanus, the oldest Bible text ever discovered. The library currently has more than one million volumes and manuscripts. A total of 8,500 Middle Age incunabula, including 65 made on parchment, are preserved by this organization, making it the biggest repository in the world. This library contains more than just books and manuscripts. Nearly 20,000 items of the art of all kinds and 300,000 old coins are included.

Even if you do not fall into one of those groups, there is a chance if you are willing to look at this Roman beauty. In reality, the public library collection has a particular range of books and artifacts that are available in the Vatican Museums. The old site of the library of its own, opened in the 14th century, now houses the 13 various rooms that make up the Vatican Library Museum.

History of the Vatican Library

 Vatican Library
Origins

The Vatican Library History is quite interesting as the original library and archive of the Popes were dispersed in the first part of the 1300s for causes that are still unknown. Following the death of Boniface VIII, fresh collections amassed by the then Popes were transported to Perugia, Assisi, and, finally, Avignon. When the popes returned to Rome after 1415 at various times, they made their best attempts for a dedicated search of the lost library treasures. In 1891, Leo XIII bought into the Borghese family collection all that was left at Avignon in the early 17th century.

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 Vatican Library
From Nicholas v to Sixtus v

The Vatican Library's modern era began about the middle of the fourteenth century. The decision to allow students to study Latin, Greek and Hebrew literature was made by Nicholas V. Sixtus IV continued, completed, and carried out Nicholas V's objective with the hiring of a librarian named Bartolomeo Platina and the necessary financial support. The ground floor of a building that Nicholas V had already refurbished served as the new institution's home. The collection grew and reached 3,498 manuscripts in 1481 from 2,527 in 1475.

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Vatican Library
Seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

Leo X's rigorous investigation, the purchase of manuscripts, and the acquisition of printed books allowed the Library to continue to expand throughout the 16th century. Princely or private libraries began to be added to the collection in the seventeenth century. Numerous of them have been transformed into the distinctive, closed manuscript and physical book collections, as opposed to the free collections that initially originated inside the library. The Vatican Library's sections for antique and imaginative collections were established in the 18th century, and they gradually grew.

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Vatican Library
Nineteenth and twentieth centuries

The Vatican Library Collection became a National Library and received the addition of religious groups' collections in 1809 when Rome was seized by the French Empire. Under Leo XIII, the library was made accessible to a larger group of scholars and historians, and the present-day ‘Reading Room for Printed Books’ was built in 1892. Pope Pius XI chose to transform the ancient barns at the Cortile del Belvedere into piles for the Library's physical books when vehicles first became commonplace in 1927. Thanks to assistance from the German Episcopal Conference, new stacks containing manuscripts were built beneath the interior courtyard of the Vatican Library

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Vatican Library Collection

 Vatican Library
Manuscript Collections

An amazing collection of manuscripts is housed in the Vatican Library Collection. Carte d'Abbadie, Libri minuscoli, Raccolta Rospigliosi, Boncompagni Ludovisi, Vaticani musicali,Papiri Vaticani copti, and more than 100 more artifacts are among those kept inside of the library. One who is a keen reader can move towards the manuscript collection in the Vatican Library and find various ancient scriptures and artifacts to learn about.

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Vatican Library
Archival Collections

Visit Vatican Library for there is an amazing collection of archives. The collection contains a number of different archives, such as Archivio Barberini, Computisteria Ottoboni, Autografi e Documenti Patetta, Pergamene Patetta, S. Maria in Cosmedin, Archivio Barberini Colonna di Sciarra,and others.

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 Vatican Library
Printed Books Collections

Over 1,600,000 printed volumes, many of which are old and uncommon, are kept at the Vatican Library, including over 8,600 incunabula, tens of thousands of volumes from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially in the Barberini and Chigi collections. The Vatican Library Collection has access to printed books but a few are even today archived. Visit Vatican Library for the humongous history that lies in these centuries-old books and artifacts.

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 Vatican Library
Graphic Materials

The Fondo Stampe, Fondo Stampe Geografiche, Raccolta fotografica, Fondo Bianchi Barriviera, and other magnificent works of art may be found in the Vatican Library's Graphics collection. The Graphics collection includes the Ashby Collection and the Gismondi Collection, two separate closed collections of a particular size.

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Vatican Library
Coins and Medals

The Numismatic Cabinet, or Medagliere, of the Vatican Library Collection, houses objects such as currencies, awards, medals, stamps, engravings, sculpted stones, sulfur and plaster casts, and other things. Additionally preserved here are Republican-era Roman coins, coins from Italian cities and dominions. Visit Vatican Library to take a look at the medals from various nations ranging from the Renaissance to the present.

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 Vatican Library
Art Objects

Among the many priceless items kept in the Vatican Library are hundreds of non-book artifacts that are on exhibit as decorations. These artifacts—works of art, statues, antiques, and other things—have been included as Library Art pieces in the catalog. Along with photographs, the art items are classified and listed in both the general catalog and the catalog of graphical materials and art objects.

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Manuscript Department

Today, the Manuscript Section has more than a hundred collections or shelfmark series. They range from the Vaticani Latini, which has the greatest collection (15,371 objects), to smaller collections with hardly one item. They are all significantly distinct from one another, the seven of which include the Borgiani egiziani, the Borgiani islandesi, the Vaticani indocinesi, the Papiri Borgiani aramaici, the Papiri Borgiani demotici, the Papiri Vaticani demotici, and the Vaticani mandei.

By tradition, the open repository of ancient documents in the Vatican Library Collection are given titles that often contain the word Vaticani. An open collection is one that theoretically might be amenable to development over time by admissions of literature of the same sort. On the other hand, a closed collection is one that can no longer acquire new materials since they would be inconsistent with its character either it originated from an already-existing library or because of the unusual historical circumstances surrounding its establishment.

Visit the Vatican Library as it is a library of libraries, due to the inexhaustible variety of the manuscript collections and their sources. The phrase library of libraries refers to a collection that was amassed through the efforts of the Popes over the course of more than 500 years, as well as the addition of entire libraries that serve as windows into various time periods, worlds, and cultures, ranging from the medieval manuscripts from monasteries in Germany, France, and Central Europe.

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 Vatican Library
Manuscript Section

An amazing collection of manuscripts is housed in the Vatican Library. Carte d'Abbadie, Libri minuscoli, Raccolta Rospigliosi, Boncompagni Ludovisi, Vaticani musicali,Papiri Vaticani copti, and more than 100 more artifacts are among those kept inside of the library. One who is a keen reader can move towards the manuscript collection in the Vatican Library and find various ancient scriptures and artifacts to learn about. They range from the Vaticani Latini, which has the greatest collection (15,371 numbered objects), to smaller collections made up of only one item. They are all significantly distinct from one another.

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 Vatican Library
Archival Section

The research of manuscripts, or handwritten records and books, which make up the most significant historical nucleus of the collections held in both types of facilities, is a unique and extremely noble aspect that both archives and libraries share. There is no wonder that the most recent scientific advancements in both codicology and archive science have brought these two fields so close together that one can, in fact, speak of an archival approach to manuscripts, whose object is the set of organic archives themselves that comprise the manuscripts, sure as long as these collation History, model issues, and

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Vatican Library
Reading Rooms and Stacks

Taking care of the Stacks and Manuscript Reading Rooms is the responsibility of this department. Additionally, its members handle requests for reproduction approval and notify the department's director of any manuscripts that require repair. Furthermore, they must greet and assist academics and researchers while showing out the primary resources for bibliographic study. They facilitate electronic manuscript requests and provide access to papers in digital form. Moreover, they maintain and arrange numerous manuscript stacks.

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Interesting Facts about Vatican Library

Vatican Library
  • The Vatican Library comprises of 75,000 manuscripts dating back to the second century in Latin, Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Persian, Ethiopian, and Syriac languages.

  • Each year, the library receives about 6,000 new books. Only around 25 percent are bought; the rest is gifted.

  • The Vatican Library has almost 2,000,000 printed books and serials, including over 8,000 incunabula.

  • The Vatican Library's book catalog system was modernized between 1927 and 1939 with help from the Library of Congress and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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Plan your visit to Vatican Library

Essential Information
Who Has Access?
Tips

Opening times:

The Opening hours are given as

Monday to Friday: 9 AM to 12:00 AM

Tuesday and Thursday: 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM

The Reader's Pass:

To enter the Library, you must get a reader's pass. You may only use the pass to access the printed collection of books. A reference letter or other legally binding document attesting to your academic suitability is required in order to apply for the pass. The Letter of Surety, which must be printed on official letterhead and bears the dissertation advisor's signature, must be presented by the student.

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Vatican Library FAQs

Can you go into the Vatican library?

The Vatican Library is a research library for history, law, philosophy, science, and religion. Anyone who can prove their credentials and research needs is welcome to use the Vatican Library.

Why is the Vatican library Important?

Some of the earliest and most priceless pieces of art and wealth that have ever existed may be found at the Vatican Library. It was established more than five centuries ago, while Europe was rising from the Ancient World, and it has approximately 2,000-year-old manuscripts.

Is the Vatican archives open to the public?

The indexes to the archives are kept in a fortress-like area of the Vatican and are not available to the general public; only scholars can access them once they have reached the mature age of 75.

Can you read the books in the Vatican library?

The Vatican Library is not a public institution; Rather, it is the Supreme Pope's indivisible property and is only accessible to readers at his sovereign command.

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