Biblioteca Ambrosiana

Milan, Italy

The Biblioteca Ambrosiana is a historic library in Milan, also housing the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, the Ambrosian art gallery. Named after Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan, it was founded in 1609 by Cardinal Federico Borromeo, whose agents scoured Western Europe and even Greece and Syria for books and manuscripts. Some major acquisitions of complete libraries were the manuscripts of the Benedictine monastery of Bobbio (1606) and the library of the Paduan Vincenzo Pinelli, whose more than 800 manuscripts filled 70 cases when they were sent to Milan and included the famous Iliad, the Ilia Picta.

Among the 30,000 manuscripts, which range from Greek and Latin to Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopian, Turkish and Persian, is the Muratorian fragment, of ca 170 A.D., the earliest example of a Biblical canon and an original copy of De divina proportione by Luca Pacioli. Among Christian and Islamic Arabic manuscripts are treatises on medicine, a unique 11th-century diwan of poets, and the oldest copy of the Kitab Sibawahaihi.

Artwork at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana includes da Vinci's Portrait of a Musician, Caravaggio's Basket of Fruit, and Raphael's cartoon of The School of Athens.

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Address

Piazza Pio XI 2, Milan, Italy
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Details

Founded: 1609
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Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ashley Bedwell (2 years ago)
The library houses original pages from Leonardo da Vinci's codex and has them on display there. Very neat to see them in person. This portion of the exhibit is in English and Italian. There is also a nice room and exhibit housing the pre-planning sketches for one of Raphael's paintings at the Vatican. A video explains the process involved in using the scaled drawings to create the final painting.
Fernando Medina (2 years ago)
Good museum and beautiful library
Annalisa (2 years ago)
An amazing place both for the architecture of the courtyard and for amazing paintings of Da Vinci, Caravaggio, Botticelli etc. and all this only couple of steps from the cathedral. The majority of the art is medieval. This is one of my favorite places in Milan. A real gem. Plan an hour to visit, it’s worth it!
Lee Green (3 years ago)
Really cool museum with a lot of beautiful architecture in addition to great artwork. This is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area, and I thought it was more interesting (also much less crowded) than the Duomo.
Matt Corey (3 years ago)
Loved this place. One of my favorite museums. I really like how they have the lights dimmed and then put little spot lights on the pieces. I think this really brings the works to life. Also to see Raphael's cartoon put together is worth the price of admission alone. The leonardo codices are very interesting as well.
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Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.

Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.

In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.

During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.

In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.

The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.