The Biblioteca Capitolare is renowned for the antiquity and the value of its manuscripts, which represent its most precious treasure. This inspired the paleographer Elias Avery Lowe (1879-1979) to define it as “The queen of the ecclesiastical collections”.
However, its cultural heritage is not only limited to manuscripts, nor to religious books: here you can find many rare printed books and a wide assortment of volumes on the Arts and other topics: law, poetry, philosophy, medicine, astronomy, and several other sciences.
This variety attests to the fruitful encounter and the mutual integration of religious and secular knowledge, which Western culture in based on.
Lately, the Capitolare has started successful partnerships with other significant cultural institutes, both at a local and international level. It also has started promoting the knowledge of its priceless heritage, still partially undiscovered and full of promises.
Today, the library’s holdings consist of:
- Over 1200 manuscripts
- Around 270 incunabula (110 of which are law texts)
- Around 2500 16th century texts cinquecentine
- Around 2800 17th century texts
- over 90000 books of more recent production
Some of the Capitolare’s most precious treasures:
- Vergilii Fragmenta, Manuscript XL, 5th century (palimpsest)
- De Civitate Dei (St. Augustine), Manuscript XXVIII , 5th century
- Institutiones (Gaio), Manuscript XV, 5th century (palimpsest)
- Tractatus super Psalmos (St. Hilary), Manuscript XIII, 5th century
- Evangeliario Purpureo veronese (Purple Gospel), Manuscript VI, 5th century
- De Trinitate (St. Hilary), Manuscript XIV, 5th – 6th century
- Vita Sancti Martini (Sulpicius Severus), Manuscript XXXVIII, 6th century
- Sacramentarium Veronensis, Manuscript LXXXV, 7th century
- Orazionale mozarabico (Spanish prayer book), Manuscript LXXXIX, 8th century (contains the “Riddle of Verona”)
- Martyrologium, Manuscript CVI, 9th – 10th century
- 17 Cathedral Choir Books, 14th century
- Livy, Ab urbe Condita, Manuscript CXXXV, 15th century
- Plutarch Summaries (by Pier Candido Decembrio), Manuscript CCXXXIX, 15th century
Manuscript index according to subject
- Church fathers and sacred writers
- Theology and philosophy
- Civil and canonical law
- History and geography
- Latin authors and literature
- Greek authors and literature
- Italian authors and literature
- French authors and literature
- Eastern manuscripts
- Illuminated and illustrated manuscripts
Besides its books, the Biblioteca Capitolare also has an extensive archive of handwritten parchment documents. The Capitolare’s Archive attests to the continuous activity of the Canons of Verona over the centuries. It is formed by the Parchments Archive (about 11,000 parchments, the oldest of which dates back to AD 710), and 716 binders with paper documents starting from the 13th century. There are also Archives donated by private citizens and entities.
A first reorganization of the parchment archive was completed by Alessandro Canobio in 1626. In 1753 Gian Giacomo Dionisi arranged the diplomas section. In that same century, Canon Giuseppe Muselli investigated the parchment collection and transcribed the most important documents in 17 files, named “Carte Muselli“, registered as manuscripts and inserted in the catalogue written by Antonio Spagnolo. In September 1882, River Adige’s waters flooded the Archive rooms and damaged the most part of the parchments. The retrieved materials were then cleansed and restored in the 20th century by Giuseppe Turrini, who also divided the parchments in chronological and size order, placing them into three dedicated binders. The biggest ones belong to format I, the medium ones to format II, and the smallest ones to format III, for a total of 269 binders. There are also some diplomas kept in separated and unnumbered binders.
- Archives of Verona’s Canon Chapter (of which the oldest one dates back to AD 710)
- Archives of St. Helen Collegiate Church, of the Acolytes and of the Cathedral
- Giuliari Archive (1147 parchments and 218 diplomas)
- Fumanelli Archive
- Trecca collection
- Crosatti collection
- Simeoni collection
- Music collection (16th century wind instruments)
- Pellegrini collection
- Sichel collection (manuscript reproductions), photographer Lotze
- Trecca collection (manuscript reproductions), negative plates
- Simeoni collection (200-300 negative plates and original prints)
Main author: Lotze
Main subjects: Verona city, portraits etc.
Housed periodicals: 60
Microfilms: all the manuscripts
Video documents: 1 (about the Biblioteca Capitolare)
All the library’s works are for reference use only (no borrowing allowed)