Bologna Archiginnasio part 2
About Archiginnasio part 2
Upstairs on the first floor is the City Library only open to students or members. As with the rest of the rooms here there are coats-of-arms and art work relevant to past students and professors of Bologna’s University.
One of the most unusual architectural designs is this dome in the middle of the hall. It’s possible that it’s a scaled copy of one in St Peter’s Cathedral.
This next room is called the room of artists and is covered in wall-wall art and makes an incredible impression on the visitor. It’s used as a consultation room particularly for older manuscripts and books. As quite a recent facility free internet access is provided through the Comune which means that private laptops are permitted here.
A series of rooms adjacent to this aula act as the main storage space and which only staff enter to retrieve books. In total there are approximately 800,000 books here, 2,500 incunabula being the earliest printed books or pamphlets, 15,000 sixteenth-century books, 12,000 manuscripts, 50,000 letters, and 15,000 drawings and designs. As such this mammoth collection probably makes this one of Italy’s most important libraries.
This small room held the original library catalogue and is quite an important historic artifact in itself. Although, for the most part it’s no longer in use but it can still be consulted. The whole catalogue was written by hand as can be seen here in beautiful antique calligraphy. This system as also noted here dates back to the 1800s.
Next to this is a room designed more for show than anything else. It’s another and one of the last remaining ornately artistic rooms. Collections here date to the 18th century and provided from some illustrious scholars after their deaths. Many of the library’s material also comes from a huge collection from the Barnabite’s Order built up centuries ago and used to be kept in the Dominican library before this one was even conceived.
This second consultation hall holds more modern books. It’s very much styled in the traditional sense with books lining shelves from ground to ceiling and covering the whole room. One noticeable feature which can only be seen from a window on the first floor is the Museo Civico next door. Built around the same time this houses a public museum within an equally striking environment of architectonics. The buildings were openly connected in the past but not anymore.
Finally, back towards the entrance hall is this room for antique manuscripts.
Pierengelo Belletini, Biblioteca Comunale Dell’Archiginnasio Bologna, Bologna 2001.