Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Cortile del Belvedere, - 120 Città del Vaticano - Rome   see map - Contact
The Vatican Apostolic Library is housed in the Apostolic Palace and is certainly among the most important in the world: commissioned by Sixtus IV in 1475, the Library is a destination for scholars of every continent who come here to conduct their research among the hundreds of thousands of manuscripts and prints.

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana History

The Vatican Apostolic Library, located in the Vatican Palaces. It is the library that the Holy See has organized in the Vatican; here you find one of the most important collections of ancient and rare texts in the world.

The intellectual fatherhood of the library belongs to the humanist and bibliophile Tomaso Parentucelli, pope from 1147 to 1455 with the name of Niccolò VI who first conceived the idea of ​​a modern library making a substantial collection of ancient codes, allowing consultation with scholars and scholars in a room on the ground floor of the Vatican; this will become the nucleus of the future library which had an official institution with Pope Sixtus IV in 1475 with the bull "Ad decorem militantis Ecclesiae".

A century later the original site was inadequate due to the amount of manuscripts that in the meantime was increased by the popes with new acquisitions and above all with the advent of the press; therefore, in the period between 1587 and 1589, Pope Sixtus V commissioned the architect Domenico Fontana to build a new building where, on the highest floor, the spectacular Sistine Hall was created, a majestic two-nave hall richly decorated with frescoes. 70 meters in length turned out to be the longest in the world.

The exhibition itinerary develops in thirteen sections, where archaeological finds, furnishings and works dating back to the Etruscan period are presented up to the 19th century. Currently the Library contains more than 80,000 manuscripts, 150,000 drawings and prints, 300,000 coins and medals, 160,000 photographs and more than 1,500,000 modern prints, covering a time span of over 2500 years of history and human knowledge, from literature to history , from medicine to mathematics, from theology to philosophy.

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

Time period
  • 1400s
  • Vatican City, Rome
Historical figures
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Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
  Cortile del Belvedere, - 120 Città del Vaticano
  +39 06 69879411

Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
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