The first example of a civic library in Italy and in Europe, the Malatesta Library in Cesena, commissioned by Malatesta Novello and built by architect Matteo Nuti in the mid-fifteenth century, is also the only medieval library that has now been perfectly preserved. Due to its extraordinary historical and cultural heritage it has been listed by UNESCO in the Memory of the World register.
Biblioteca Malatestiana History
Considered by many experts as one of the most beautiful in the world, the Malatestiana Library of Cesena is such a priceless treasure that it has earned its place in the Mémoire du monde registry of UNESCO, the only library in the world to belong to. Designed by Matteo Nuti, a student architect of Leon Battista Alberti, the library was built in 1454 at the Franciscan Monastery in order to provide accommodation to the precious codes preserved by the friars.
The real historical turning point, destined to make Malatestiana a library at the same time elegant and public, was the decision of Malatesta Novello to entrust it to the municipality, making it the first civic library of Italy. It is the only example of a monastic library capable of survaving practically unscathed several centuries, perfectly preserved both in the building and in the furnishings and the book heritage.
Located in front of Piazza Bufalini, among the nineteenth-century buildings of the historic center, it presents itself with its simple architecture, with an ornate pediment and arched windows. Once you have entered and gone up to the first floor you will cross a first corridor where a space tells the story of the library. Going beyond a wooden portal, one enters the Malatestiana itself, in the wonderful Aula del Nuti: rectangular and with two side aisles, it is occupied by an impressive heritage of thousands of volumes, extremely rare miniatures, incunabula, manuscripts, autograph letters, maps and the smallest book visible to the naked eye of the world.
Opposite the Aula del Nuti we find Sala Piana, the private library of Pope Pius VII, in which the Corals of the Cathedral and those of Cardinal Bessarione are on display. Alongside the ancient wonders, today Malatestina also supports the modern, in a work of continuous updating to meet the current needs of reading and information of the city; in addition to being divided into a series of sections for children and adults, it hosts an intense activity of exhibitions, conferences and exhibitions, meetings with the author as well as guided tours by appointment.