Saturday, June 8, 2013

Angelica Library

 Bill and I have often walked by and visited Chiesa Sant'Agostino. It contains a famous Caravaggio. But we never noticed this library next door. One afternoon we were walking by with cosmopolitan storyteller Mariella Bertelli. She was astonished we didn't know about it and walked us straight in.
The Biblioteca Angelica, the Angelica library, has been open to the public since 1609.
It was born when Augustinian bishop, Angelo Racca, placed his large collection of rare books in the hands of the Augustinian friars at this address. The amazing reading room with its towering banks of books was built in 1786 to house the collection, which had grown through many other bequests.
The library focuses on books about the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Italian literature and theatre from the 15th to 18th centuries and many maps and atlases.
We were utterly enchanted.
 Mariella led me to the back where I inspected the New Books Shelf.  Bembo is a Renaissance scholar, aristocrat and bishop. Bobbio is a political philosopher and historian. I hadn't heard of either one before but I'm now interested in them both.


  1. Incredible indeed - so glad you went inside.
    Lisa R-R

  2. Just another of the endless surprises when visiting Rome, Lisa.

  3. Amazing! This is gorgeous! Did you just bump into Mariella?

  4. Bembo & Bobbio are in the right place. Stunning!

  5. Shelley, The Bembo and Bobbio were also full of interesting photos of original documents and artifacts. Very attractive. Wanted to delve but the Angelica librarian gently informed us that we had neglected to check our bags so we carried on. We shall return.
    Rarecat, we knew Mariella was going to be in Rome so arranged to meet for lunch. Two new Mariella posts coming soon -- including a trek to Saint Agnes Outside the Walls -- the book Margaret Visser writes about in The Geography of Love.