Library of Malatestian

asked 2022-01-08 13:33:52 -0600

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Library of Malatestian (Italian Biblioteca Malatestiana, library Malatesta) – a library in the city of Cesena, Italy. It was founded in 1452 and is considered the oldest public library.


It was conceived in 1445 as the library of a Franciscan monastery. The creation of the (library) was authorized by the bull by Pope Eugene IV and financed by the (local ruler) Novello Malatesta.

In 1447-1452, under the leadership of the architect Matteo Nuti, on the second floor of the new wing of the Franciscan monastery, above the bedrooms and the refectory, premises for the library were built, in which it is still located.

A scriptorium (room for copying manuscripts) was created at the library, since the library was located far from large cities and therefore it was difficult to buy books for it, but it was easier to borrow them from other collections for copying.

After the death of Malatesta in 1465, the systematic expansion of the collection ceased and the scriptorium was closed. The only major addition to the modern period was the 119 manuscripts donated by the physician Malatesta in 1474.

Largely due to the fact that Malatesta entrusted the care of the library jointly to Franciscans and local residents, as well as due to its (placement) in a large building with other collections, the library has survived to this day.


The reading room is designed as a long corridor, on each side of which there are 29 reading rooms. The interior of the library, created at that time, has been preserved, including the forged chains used to fix books on reading tables.

Most of the historical fund – religious texts, including the work of the church fathers, there are also codes in Greek, Hebrew and other languages. Due to the fact that the historical part of the library was replenished mainly in the 15th century, humanistic literature and poetry of a later time did not get into it.

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