The Capitolare Library of Verona is located in the architectural complex of the Cathedral of Verona and is considered the oldest library in the world still in operation.
Biblioteca Capitolare di Verona History
The Capitular Library of Verona is one of the oldest libraries in the world and among the most important of its kind in Europe.
The birth of the library took place in conjunction with the spread of Christianity in Verona, around the year 380, as a real Scriptorium where priests began to produce writings on parchment to educate young priests. One of them, Ursicino, who had the role of reader of the Veronese Church, left us the oldest testimony of the existence of this Scriptorium.
What is certain is that the bookshop was active from the year 517, given on purpose by a priest on the code he had just finished transcribing: a precious manuscript on the life of Saint Martin and Saint Paul the hermit, which is still preserved in the Chapter. However, this codex is not the oldest preserved text. Its thousand-year-old rooms have brought up to our days also the Instructions of Gaius, the only text in the world of Roman law that has come down to the present day almost complete, in addition to an edition of the De Civitate Dei di Sant'Agostino, dating back to era of the author.
The conspicuous number of manuscripts testify to the continuity of the Chapter's activity during the medieval centuries, with a particularly fortunate moment in the 9th century, or during the Carolingian revival, when the Archdeacon Pacific gave a strong impulse to the Scriptorium, which came to compose even further two hundred volumes, in an era in which a much smaller number was already sufficient to form a rich library. its rooms became a center of cultural aggregation, as evidenced by the presences of Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca.
After passing the greed of Napoleon Bonaparte, who removed several precious manuscripts to supply the National Library of Paris, the flood of 1882 that smeared his parchments with mud, and the Anglo-American bombing of 1945 that razed it to the ground, the Chapter Library of Verona still preserves an invaluable documentary heritage, with over 70,000 volumes, 11,000 scrolls, ancient, incunable and manuscript funds.