MARCIANA NATIONAL LIBRARY
Honorary Member – Italy
The Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, one of the oldest libraries in Italy, was already conceived as ‘public’ by Francesco Petrarca, who first conceived the project of an open library in the heart of the Venetian Republic. The Library confirms its mission as a place dedicated to reading and study in the city and to the promotion, dissemination and knowledge of its extremely rich bibliographic heritage preserved and made accessible in the main building, i.e. that of the former Mint.
The Public Library of St. Mark’s, located in the adjoining building, Piazzetta San Marco no. 13, a building of the former Public Library of St. Mark’s and the Procurators’ Redoubts, is now a visitable museum area, also used for exhibitions and events. It was the seat of the Library from its establishment in the second half of the 16th century until the beginning of the 19th century: designed by Jacopo Sansovino, proto of the Government of the Serenissima, it is a shining expression of Venetian Renaissance art. Through the monumental staircase, one enters the Vestibule and the Salone Sansovino or the Sala della Libreria. The Procurators’ Rooms display Marcian cartographic relics, culminating in Fra’ Mauro’s world map showing Pietro Querini’s passage to the Norwegian lands.
Moreover, the link between Via Querinissima and the Biblioteca Marciana does not end here: it holds Pietro Querini’s diary and the diary written by Querini’s two under-officers, Cristofalo Fioravante and Nicolò de Michiel.
The current location of the Library is in the former Palace of the Mint of the Venetian Republic – in Piazzetta San Marco No. 7 – which has housed the study rooms since 1904.