Salone Vanvitelliano

Biblioteca Angelica - Official Site




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Entry is permitted to those over the age of 16, with an identity document. All book bags and belongings should be left at the reception desk, where entry cards are issued. Entry cards must be returned before leaving the library.

Entrance for persons with disabilities Via Sant'Agostino, 13



History, funds and collections, guided tours, photographic reproductions


The Biblioteca Angelica owes its name to the Augustinian Bishop Angelo Rocca (1546-1620), an erudite writer and a keen collector of rare editions. He was in charge of the Vatican Printing House during the pontificate of Pope Sixtus V.
Bishop Angelo Rocca entrusted his collection of some 20,000 volumes to the friars at the convent of St. Augustine in Rome at the end of the sixteenth century.
Over the previous centuries the Augustinian collection had acquired valuable manuscripts donated by Roman nobles, and codices transcribed by or belonging to the friars themselves who left them to the monastery when they died. Angelo Rocca provided the new library with a suitable building, an annuity and a set of regulations. He wished the library to be open to everyone irregardless of their income or social standing. The novelty of this institution gave rise to an ever-increasing interest by the general public and soon the library's fame spread to scholars all over the world.
In 1661, Lukas Holste (1596-1661), the curator of the Vatican Library, left his valuable collection of 3,000 printed volumes to the Augustinian friars.
In the first half of the eighteenth century the Roman monastery and its library bore witness to the religious controversies of the period. The presence of the main supporters of Augustinian thought meant that a collection of books which is still fundamental to research of the period of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation was formed in the library. This was the reason why, in 1762, the huge library of Cardinal Domenico Passionei was acquired. This acquisition doubled Angelica's collection and above all enriched it with texts that the Cardinal, who was connected with the Roman Jansenist circles, had obtained during his travels as papal envoy in Protestant Europe.

During those years, Luigi Vanvitelli was commissioned by the monks to rebuild the monastery, and he completed the current reading room in 1765.
The library was closed for renovation in 1748 and was finally re-opened to the public in 1786 when the handwritten catalogue of all the printed books had been complete.
In the nineteenth century the history of the Angelica was marked by historical events which directly affected Rome: from the French invasion to the proclamation of the Mazzinian Republic in 1849.
In 1873 the Biblioteca Angelica became the property of the Italian State.Since 1940 Biblioteca Angelica has in deposit 10,000 volumes belonging to the Accademia Letteraria dell'Arcadia.
The Angelica became a part of the Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali in 1975.
The current works of restoration and reorganization have allowed the Institute to increase its book deposit and to offer new services to its patrons.

Funds and Collections

Angelica's heritage consist of nearly 200,000 volumes.
The larger sectors of the collection include works on the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation with particular reference to Italy, and in addition, texts on the religious controversies of the period.
Other areas of interest consist of Bibles, texts on Italian literature and theatre from 15th to 18th century.
Angelica's heritage consists of nearly 200,000 volumes.
The collection includes also works on the thought of St. Augustine and the activities of the Augustinian Order.
Other areas of interest consist of Bibles, texts on Italian literature and theatre from 15th to 18th century.
The Manuscript Fund consists of nearly 24,000 unbound documents and 2,700 Latin, Greek and Oriental volumes, some of which belonged to the Monastery of Saint Augustine, others were obtained when the Angelica came into the possession of the Cardinal Passionei collection and others were left to the Angelica in 1849 by the brothers of Santa Maria del Popolo. The Angelica preserves over 100,000 volumes edited between the 15th and the 19th century and has more than 1,100 incunabula.
The collection of works edited by G. B. Bodoni (1740-1813) includes 536 exemplars, most of them acquired in 1919.
The Angelica owns 460 unbound geographical maps, of which 85 are manuscript nautical charts produced in the Netherlands, numerous atlases and around 10,000 maps bound in volumes.
Of notable interest are two pairs of geographical globes by W. J. Bleau from the end of 16th century. There is an interesting collection of drawings of City Views from southern Italy dating from the 16th century as well as numerous drawings contained in the manuscript volumes.

Modern Fund

The Modern Fund is comprised of 120,000 volumes; its specialized areas are Italian literature and literary criticism, religious historical studies with a particular reference to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and the Augustinian studies.
The Angelica owns important modern correspondence: the correspondence of the Roman poet Domenico Gnoli (1838-1915) (6,000 letters); the correspondence of the archaeologist Felice Barnabei (1842-1922) (over 17,000 letters) and the manuscripts, in Roman dialect, of Gigi Zanazzo (1860-1911). Another highlight is the private correspondence of Arnaldo Bocelli (1900-1974), contained in the Archivio Bocelli acquired in 2000 (6,200 letters); the Angelica also possesses the literary critic's personal library, largely comprised of texts of Italian literature of the 1900s.
The Angelica owns 672 periodical publications, of which 150 are current.

Guided tours


Are available for those who would like to know more about the history of the library and its collections; organized groups need to make an appointment in advance with the Didactis Office.

Suggestions and complaints form


Piazza di Sant'Agostino, 8
00186 - ROMA
Tel. 06.6840801

(please fill up clearly) 


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on cultural events organized by this Institute (D.Lgs.30/06/3003 n°196).

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