Biblioteca Statale di Lucca

Inside this old convent is a vast library of ancient literary works that document key moments in Lucca’s history 

Delve into Lucca’s past by poring over ancient books, pamphlets and manuscripts that cover the city’s history and culture. They are housed in the Biblioteca Statale di Lucca, the state library of Lucca. The collections also include philosophy, religion and the humanities.

Biblioteca Statale di Lucca is a vast literary repository that contains close to 500,000 books and more than 3,000 periodicals. The collections originated with the Library of the Lateran Canons of St. Frediano, founded in the 17th century.

Examine an original copy of Liber Vitae Meritorum by St. Hildegard of Bingen. Written between 1158 and 1163, this was her second volume of philosophy. Look at Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Abraham Ortelius. This 16th-century map book is considered by scholars to be the first true atlas. See the Missale Romanum that belonged to one of Lucca’s 15th-century bishops. 

Get acquainted with Lucca’s history by studying the Fund Baroni collection. It contains genealogical news and coats of arms of Lucca’s wealthy noble families.

Giacomo Puccini, one of the world’s most famous and beloved opera composers, was born in Lucca, not far from the state library. Among the collections at the library are more than 500 unreleased compositions, as well as letters, autographs and miscellaneous writings of the musical master.

Two rooms are open to the public: the reading room for material on the open shelves and the study room for accessing rarer historic works.

Biblioteca Statale di Lucca is open every day except Sundays and is located in the former Convent of St. Maria Corteorlandini, close to Palazzo Pfanner in the city center. You will need to call ahead to speak to the director to make an appointment for a tour or for viewing the rare materials and manuscripts, so ask locally how to go about it. Tours are in Italian only. There is also a searchable online database of the library’s holdings.

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