The ancient and prestigious library of the Camaldolese monks of Ravenna, built between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by Abbot Pietro Canneti, is one of the most important libraries in the country; among cloisters, large baroque halls, antique furnishings and paintings, there is a large book collection both contemporary and ancient, where jewels such as manuscripts, incunabula, correspondence and collections of graphics are numerous.
Biblioteca Classense History
The Classense Library is housed in the ancient Camaldolese Abbey of Classe and since 2002 it is entrusted in management to an institution specially established by the Municipality of Ravenna for the management of the Library, the Municipal Historical Archive and the Museum of the Risorgimento.
The first news relating to a Classense library dates back to 1230, as a collection of codes from the monastery of the Camaldolesi (branch of the Benedictine order) in the basilica of Sant'Apollinare. It is however with the transfer to the city in 1515 that one can begin to refer to a real library, however, to the almost exclusive use of the monks. On the ground floor, the entrance cloister with the baroque façade of Giuseppe Antonio Soratini introduces the grand refectory adorned with stained glass windows, paintings and wooden furniture, now a space dedicated to Dante's readings; in the early 1600s, the second cloister was built, larger than the first, designed by Giulio Morelli, with the elegant cistern designed in the 19th century by Domenico Barbiani. On the second floor the Library, built in the seventeenth century by Abbot Pietro Canneti, scholar and expert bibliophile, who is responsible for the acquisition of valuable collections that have allowed the Classense to become a great bibliographic reality.
In 1803, following the suppression of the monastic orders for Napoleonic will, the library was elected to the Civic Library of Ravenna, gathering within its walls also the library funds of the most important abbeys and conventual complexes of the city. Among the oldest works are manuscripts, incunabula, very rich papers, woodcuts, lithographs, copper engravings.
Today the Classense has become a historical library of general culture, with an ancient and contemporary library heritage among the most important in Italy, proposing itself as a place of research, loan and reading, also as a venue for cultural meetings and exhibitions.