Chapter Library of Verona

The Chapter Library of Verona is an institution known for its antiquity and preciousness of his manuscripts, as to be defined by Elias Avery Lowe paleographer (1879-1969) “Queen of Ecclesiastical collections.”

In respect of other libraries in antiquity it claims the primacy of Latin culture.

It originated, in fact, in the fifth century d. Christ as an emanation of the “Scriptorium” (= book shop)  that priests of the Schola Majoris Ecclesiae, that the Canons of the Chapter (hence the word “Chapter”) of the Cathedral , they ran for the composition of books on parchment, sheepskin ie, education and training of future priests and religious discipline.

One of them, Ursicinus, who had the minor order of “reader” of the Church Veronese, namely the Cathedral, after having finished transcribing the life of St. Martin, composed by Sulpicius Severus, and the life of the hermit tebaico St. Paul, compiled by St. Jerome, the conclusion of the XXXVIII Code states that it has completed its work on “August 1 of the year 517” (Teodorico king of the Ostrogoths, ruled in Verona).

The Chapter Library was definitely a place of culture. It ‘s significant that Dante Alighieri, in 1320, has been invited by the Cathedral Chapter and the Chapter Library to give a lecture, the Quaestio et de aqua land, the canonical church of St. Elena.

In 1345 another great writer, Francesco Petrarca, was invited by a friend of Verona, by William Pastrengo, to consult the books of the Chapter, as documented un’iscrizioneposta of a building in Via Augusto Truth. We found a code unknown to him until then and not now available: the letters of Cicero to Atticus, Quintus and Brutus.

With the invention of printing, about 1450, entering the Capitular the first printed books (incunabula, ie the volumes printed from 1450 to 1500). The Rev. Canon librarian. G. Paolo Dionisi, a degree in canon and civil law in 1501 gave the Chapter a considerable number of manuscripts and incunabula, mostly legal.

Meanwhile, the library holdings increased more for the numerous donations from families of Verona and the famous personalities, as Maffei, Bianchini, Muselli, Dionisi. But so great riches aroused the cupidity of Napoleon Bonaparte, who carried off trent’un codes and twenty incunabula to supply the National Library in Paris. Only two thirds returned, in 1816, after the fall of the emperor.

The Library also crossed sad moments: the flood of the Adige, in 1882, splattered with mud, and the eleven thousand parchments of Chapter 4 January 1945, during the last period of the war, bombs sconquassarono the classroom more, razed to the ground. Fortunately Mgr. Joseph Turrini, the then librarian, who had worked since 1922 to clean and catalog the scrolls muddy flood, had to put in place safe from air raids the manuscripts and incunabula, that is, the industry’s most valuable heritage library collection capitulate. The other volumes, buried under rubble, were later recovered in the majority.

The indication that some figures will help to give the magnitude and importance of the assets of the Chapter: 1,200 manuscripts, 245 incunabula, 2,500 sixteenth, 2,800 seicentine and over 70,000 volumes to which are added as needed and continuously updated, encyclopedias, dictionaries, publications and magazines. And ‘while still in its library a laboratory for the restoration of ancient manuscripts.

In recent years the activities of the Library was addressed to a work of collaboration with other cultural institutions of the city and more and more frequent contacts with foreign qualifying and even overseas. He also began a policy of spreading the priceless knowledge contained within its walls, and still partly unexplored and full of promise.


Monographs: 72,000
Annual increase: 200
Gifts: 50

Old collections:
Manuscripts: 1,200
incunabula: 245
cinquecentine: 2,500
seicentine: 2,800

Special Funds:
Archives of the Chapter of Canons: 11,000 scrolls
Canteens Fund and various paper: 900 folders
S. Collegiate Fund Elena: 51 envelopes
Fund Francesco Pellegrini: volumes and a herbal medicine (XVI-XX)
Fund G.B. Charles Giuliari: 1,000 scrolls, drawings and maps cadastral maps
Joseph Fund Trecca: general collection of literature and art
Fund Giuseppe Zamboni: the philosopher’s manuscripts and his library
Canteen Fund acolytes: 51 folders, cards of the table (XVI-XX)
Music Fund: 87 envelopes, sheet music, compositions (XVI-XVIII)

Biblioteca Capitolare Verona Chapter Library

Biblioteca Capitolare Verona Chapter Library

3 thoughts on “Chapter Library of Verona

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