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The Marciana National Library

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The Sansoviniana library as known as National Marciana Library is one of the biggest and most important library in Italy. It is in Saint Marks square, in front of the Dogipalace.

The palace hosting the library is a project by Sansovino, began in 1537 and ended in 1588 by Scamozzi (after Sansovino death) during the building Sansovino was arrested because the ceiling of the palace collapsed he was then released after he paid the expenses for such a damage.

The building is finely decorated and many important artists gave their contribution, to be mentioned Titian, Paolo Veronese, Alessandro Vittoria, battista Franco, Giuseppe Porta, Bartolomeo Ammannati and Tintoretto.

The building is not very big, it has only the ground floor and the first floor, the arcade are in Doric style on the ground floor and ionic on the first floor, the columns are embellished and decorated with statues and sculptures.

The history of the Marciana National Library begin way before its building, a first proposal for its institution was forwarded by Petrarca in 1363, the proposal was not accetpted an the Petrarca gifted his collection to the city of Padova.

The first books comes from a donation of Cardinale Giovanni Bressarione in 1486 then donations from others Venetian library as well some Byzantine manuscripts, may operas were from mid orient due to the commercial expansion of Venice with that part of the world. The Marciana become the official library of the Republic since a law from 1603 ordered that every printer must deposit the first copy of every book they printed.

Also, after the fall of the Republic by hand of Napoleon, all religious book confiscated by the dictator to the various orders and brotherhood.

Actually it preserve one of the most important collection of Greek, Latin and Oriental manuscripts
From all the world, amongst the most precious there are two manuscript of the Iliad from the 5th and 6th century, the chronology Magna by Fra Paolino and the first book ever printed in Venice.

The library is specialized on the history of Vernice (couldn’ t be different) and classic philology, very important also is the collection of ancient maps.

Piazzetta San Marco, 7
30124 – Venezia
Tel 0412407211
Fax 0415238803

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