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.