With over 300,000 items, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini libraries are an extraordinary resource for study and research in the fields of history, art history, music, literature, theatre and Oriental studies. The collections housed on the Island of San Giorgio are highly specialised and traditionally associated with the scholarly activities of the Foundation’s Institutes and Research Centres. The facilities for the library resources are organised round the New Manica Lunga library. Together with the 17th-century library designed by Baldassarre Longhena, now used as a reading room, it is the place most conducive to concentration and study.
The Nuova Manica Lunga can be seen as the focal point of the The Vittore Branca International Center for the Study of Italian Culture, a residential centre for humanities studies, where Italian and foreign scholars can stay and spend a period of research in the Fondazione Giorgio Cini libraries.
The library collections are dedicated to the history of Venice, literature, music, theatre and opera, relations between Venice and the East and between Venice and Europe. The largest library in the Foundation, however, is the art history library, which has over 150,000 books and series of around 800 periodicals, including more than 200 current titles.
The library is open to the public from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 6 pm. It is situated inside the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
Books can be requested until 5.30 pm.
Consultation of antique books ends at 4.30 pm.
Anyone aged over 16 who comes to the entrance desk with a library card or with an identity document, required to apply for a library card, can enter the libraries after completing the Registration form.
The Service Charter and the Regulations for Users are available in pdf format.
The services offered by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini libraries include:
In the library or online (firstname.lastname@example.org), you can make reference enquiries; the library’s qualified staff will provide detailed bibliographic information.
A colour photocopier is available for library users and can be used by purchasing a prepaid card (cost: 1 b/w A4 sheet = 10 cent., colour = 50 cent.; 1 b/w A3 sheet = 20 cent., colour = 1 euro).
For information about this service, please contact email@example.com.
The Nuova Manica Lunga library has free WiFi for library users, who can access the network after requesting the password at the reception desk.
Putting items on hold
Users are allowed to leave books they have consulted on the reading table for use the following day. The service is valid for 7 days and for a maximum of 10 items.
Online collective catalogue of the SBN Libraries in Venice
A hard copy of a catalogue is available for library collections not completely documented in the OPAC.
ARCHIVES OF OWNERS
Census of ownership notes
New Manuscript Library – online catalogue of the cataloguing project of manuscripts in Venetian libraries
The carrels available for scholars to consult the library’s digitised catalogue also provide access to JSTOR, a major online library of digitised academic journals.
The carrels are only for use in consulting online catalogues and archives for bibliographical and documentary research.
Consulting modern books
To make finding books easier, the entire lower level of the bookcase in the corridor of the Nuova Manica Lunga is open shelf, as are the bookcases in the dedicated cells, the periodicals corridor and the Sala Longhena. There are no time limits in consulting these items. Books taken down from the shelves should not be put back on the shelf but left on the reading tables.
Consulting antique books
Items in the antique collections – including the Rolandi and Malipiero collections – can be consulted after making a justified request (pre-ordering by email to firstname.lastname@example.org is recommended) as described in the Regulations (maximum of 3 items per request).
A microfilm reader is available only for consulting the microfilmed docuents kept at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini.
The art history library (over 150,000 items) may be seen as a crossroads for Italian culture, where material often not found elsewhere may be consulted. The same applies to the series of periodicals, around 800, including over 200 current titles. The core of the art history library consists of specialised libraries, such as those of Giuseppe Fiocco, Rodolfo Gallo, Raymond van Marle, Antonio Muñoz and Achille Bertini Calosso. A very unusual, rare collection was donated by the bibliophile Tammaro De Marinis, a friend of Vittorio Cini and his advisor in building the Antique Books Collection, now in the Sala del Tesoro. The De Marinis collection of bibliographic and bibliological works is of considerable interest and value.
The Institute of Theatre and Opera has a rich library specialised in the performing arts. It includes the gradually acquired personal libraries of Gian Francesco Malipiero, Ulderico Rolandi, Francesco Gallia, Aurel M. Milloss, Luigi Squarzina, Pierluigi Samaritani, Elena Povoledo, Giovanni Poli and Arnaldo Momo. The library of the composer Malipiero has valuable cinquecentine and rare antique books, while that of Rolandi boasts numerous opera librettos from the second half of the 16th century to the early 20th century. Gallia’s library includes about 1,200 books on Wagnerian topics and that of the choreographer Milloss, over 3,000 items on dance and its history, rare monographs and specialised periodicals. The libraries of Squarzina, Samaritani, Povoledo, Poli and Momo contain many books on the history of the performing arts, opera, dance and all the arts that involved in staging a theatrical event, such as the art of acting, set design, costume design, lighting and photography
To consult books in former personal libraries (locations: EPOV, MILL, LSQU, MAL, ROL, AMOM and GPOL), authorisation is required by applying to email@example.com.
Items in the Rolandi and Malipiero collections (locations: ROLL and MAL) can be consulted by making a justified request (it is advisable to do so in advance by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com ) as described in the Regulations (max. 3 volumes for each request).
Items may only be consulted in the Manica Lunga Library.
The often unique periodicals (300 titles) are valued not only for their unusual fields of interest but also because they supplement the collections in Venetian city and university libraries.
In 2012, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini acquired the personal library of the journalist and writer Tiziano Terzani. This important collection includes about 6,000 books on art, the cultural history of Eastern countries and accounts by Western travellers. It perfectly complements the existing collection in the Oriental section of the Centre for Comparative Studies of Civilisations and Spiritualities (formerly the Institutes of “Venice and the East” and “Venice and Europe”).
The Fondazione Giorgio Cini’s antique books collection was begun at the time of the creation of the Foundation thanks to the donation by founder Vittorio Cini of a collection of 15th- and 16th-century volumes previously kept in his residence of Monselice Castle.
Exceptionally interesting because of its rare illustrated editions and many items unique worldwide, the antique books holding is the sum of the collections of Victor Masséna, Prince of Essling, the bibliophile Tammaro De Marinis and Vittorio Cini himself. Over time the collection has gradually been increased through further donations from illustrious scholars, such as Antonio Muñoz and Alessandro Dudan, and the significant recent bequest made by another generous private collector, the Milanese lawyer Cesare Grassetti.
The over 3,000 items in the collection of incunables and cinquecentine include many beautifully crafted books meant for a cultural elite, or commissioned in religious milieus. But there are also numerous works for a more popular readership often supplemented with pictures to make up for shortcomings in literacy of the less educated classes. This makes the Fondazione Giorgio Cini antique books holding one of the most important collections of Renaissance illustrated books in the world.
In addition to the usual research tools, in the Nuova Manica Lunga scholars can consult the valuable specialist library once owned by Tammaro De Marinis, which provides easy access to indices, essays and catalogues of fundamental importance in the study of antique books.