The Bertoliana Civic Library, inaugurated at the beginning of the 18th century, is the oldest and most important library in the city (the third in the Veneto region in importance after the Marciana National Library of Venice and the University Library of Padua), present throughout the territory municipal through the Urban Library System, which has seven decentralized offices in addition to the main one.
Biblioteca civica Bertoliana History
The history of the Vicenza library began in 1696 when Giovanni Maria Bertolo, a nobleman from Vicenza, decided to donate to the city its library, of about 9,000 volumes, so that it became public and provided it was kept in a "vase of such splendor". It was therefore decided to place Bertolo's private library in the Palazzo di Monte di Pietà, a project completed in 1706. In 1708, after the expansion of the Palazzo by Francesco Muttoni, the library was officially opened to the Vicentine and entitled "Bertoliana" in honor of its founder, who died before the completion of the work. The Bertolo donation inventory lists 8,701 works, of which 1,614 of legal argument.
Over the years, donations and purchases of other books followed one another, but it was at the death of the economist, statesman and senator Fedele Lampertico (who donated to the library about 20,000 volumes and pamphlets) that the need arose to find more space. for the structure. The choice fell on the building of the convent of San Giacomo, in contra 'Riale, freed by the Somaschi fathers. In 1908 the renovation works designed by Eng. Dondi dall'Orologio, of the Municipal Technical Office. On January 23, 1910, the inauguration of the new headquarters in which the Bertoliana still operates today, capable of hosting 240,000 volumes, 100,000 pamphlets and 20,000 archival envelopes. The writer Antonio Fogazzaro also took part in the inauguration ceremony.
In the following years, and in the hardest ones of the First World War, important donations for the growth of the library patrimony were not lacking. On several occasions, from 1924 to 1933, the ambassador Lelio Bonin Longare donated the archive and library of the Nievo family, rich in manuscripts, incunabula, cinquecentine.
With the Second World War the direction was forced to move the valuable works, which were hidden between Villa Camerini of Montruglio in Mossano and the Abbey of Praglia in Teolo; the location, however, was at risk of raid after the armistice and therefore the most precious material was transferred and walled in the basement of the Sanctuary of Monte Berico in the city and partly in Venice. The last risky transfer took place on April 12, 1945. A month later, after the liberation occurred, the opposite task of returning the estate to the former Convent of San Giacomo began.
In the post-war period, a radical restructuring of the Library was carried out under the institutional profile and in the logistic arrangement. In order to obtain new spaces for book stores and the public, in three successive phases of work, between 1950 and 1959, the entrance staircase was moved and the structures were demolished in the west and east wings of the former convent. Then began the decentralization project, which took shape in 1965 with the opening of the first branch library in the Villaggio del Sole, which was followed by the other six.
The patrimony of the library headquarters consists of about 450,000 volumes (200,000 of which were ancient), published between 1501 and 1830, 750 titles (173 magazines and 145 tested together with Official Gazettes and BUR) and 3,550 manuscripts.
In 1881, the Historical Archive of the Municipality of Vicenza was entrusted to the management of the Library. The complex of documents is divided into two parts: the so-called "Torre Archive" (identified as the ancient location in the Tower of the Tormento, in piazza delle Erbe), which includes the oldest part of the documentation, and the Historical Archive, which preserves the nineteenth-century material until 1893. There are also family archives , the ancient hospitals of Vicenza, and institutions, professional, in person, of Vicenza politicians and twentieth century writers of Vicenza.
It also has a cartographic section (both printed and handwritten), a photographic, a musical, a microfilm and a newspaper archive.