The Library of the
Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana
The Library of the Accademia
Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana
owes its name to the dual origin of
the collections kept on its
premises. The Corsiniana Library
was donated to the Academy in
1883 by Prince Tommaso Corsini,
on the occasion of the sale to the
Italian State of the palace
belonging to his family, located at
Via della Lungara. The palace was
to become the new headquarters of
the Accademia Nazionale dei
Lincei. Its library would later host
the collections of the Academy.
The cultural project of the
Academy, established in 1603 by
Federico Cesi, attached the utmost
significance to the role played by
the library. In fact, together with
the museum, it represented the
core of the Lyceums, conceived as
the meeting place of scholars from
the different branches of knowledge.
The Library reflected the
manifold scientific interests of the
original Academy; it included
works dealing with philosophy,
mathematics, architecture, astronomy,
ancient and modem literature, but
it also comprised oriental, astrological, alchemic and hermetic
texts, thus bearing witness to the
variety and breadth of the lines of
the Lincei research.
experimentation, it purposed to
«read this great, truthful and
universal book of the world».
On Cesi's death, in 1630, nearly
the entire Library was purchased
by a member of the Lincei
Academy, Cassiano dal Pozzo. In
1714, the Library was sold by
Cassiano's heirs to Cardinal
Alessandro Albani. The collection,
auctioned off in 1857. A large part
of it was lost in the wreck of the
ship that was taking the volumes
to the Berlin Imperial Library, for
which they had been purchased.
The Corsini family’s Library
instead reflected the tastes in book
collecting of the powerful and
noble family from Florence. From
the 18th to the 19th Century, the
Corsini had put together an
extremely rich collection of
manuscripts. Among these of
particular importance are several
illuminated breviaries, incunabula
(worthy of note the editio princeps
of Vitruvio’s De architectura
enriched by drawings and postils
by Sangallo il Gobbo), 16th
century books, drawings and
engravings: a collection whose
true aim was to document the
totality of knowledge.
Thus, the Accademia Nazionale
dei Lincei and the Corsiniana
Library is not the mere outcome of
fortuitously accumulated over the
years, but it is rather a complex
body of volumes, archival and
documental resources that today
permits us to attain a comprehensive
knowledge of the history of Italian
and European culture and scientific research.
The Library today
The Library is divided into
three sections: the Corsiniana
Section; the Academic Section,
which includes the original
nucleus of Cesi's Library, the
Historical Archive of the Lincei
and the volumes granted to the
legacy or purchase; the Oriental
Section, that was set up in 1924
after Leone Caetani donated his
splendid orientalistic library which
was added to the Michele Amari
Fund acquired in 1889.
Rome, 1625
The major collections housed in
the Library include the VerginelliRota collection of rare alchemic
that closely follows one of the
thematic areas already present in
the original Lincei Library. Also
noteworthy are the CaetaniLovatelli historical/artistic collection comprising books which
once belonged to the Accademia
d’Italia (1926-1944), the several
volumes donated by Benito
Mussolini, the Roman poet Cesare
Pascarella’s collection together
with the voluminous correspondence of the major Italian
scientists of the 19th and 20th
century such as Marconi, Volta,
gitalization and facsimile reproduction (from card indexes,
printed and volume catalogues, to
manuscripts and archive correspondence).
The Istituto dell’Enciclopedia
Italiana has also cooperated in this
initiative. The Library hosts several exhibitions, whose purpose
is to valorise its collections.
Alongside conservation of the
collections is a policy of purchases
on the book and, whenever
possible, antique markets (as for
the recent purchase of several
drawings belonging to Cassiano
dal Pozzo’s Museo cartaceo and
several volumes belonging to
Federico Cesi). In the periodical
section, the Library perpetuates
the ancient Academic tradition of
gifts and exchanges revived by
Quintino Sella, President of the
Academy from 1874 to 1884.
Stamp impressed on the books in Federico
Cesi’s Library bearing the lynx and the
Vitruvio, De Architectura
incunable with drawings of
Giovan Battista da Sangallo il Gobbo
Rome (ca.1486)
A concise description of all the
collections owned by the Academy
is available at The
Library has adopted an attentive
policy for conserving, increasing
and enhancing its
Within this framework, it has
begun an intense campaign of di-
The Library is open to the
general public. It is also possible
to organize group visits. Consultation services also include
reference and reproduction. Direct,
national and international library
loans are permitted.
The Library participates in the
National Library Service (SBN RML 10 Library Pole of the public State libraries - Biblioroma).
The catalogue may be accessed
on line at
A number of additional paper
inventories and catalogues may be
consulted on the Academy’s
The collection of periodicals has
been almost entirely added to
the on line catalogue of
(ACNP), that may be accessed
on line at
Federico Cesi’s portrait (17th c .)
Library of the Accademia
Nazionale dei Lincei
e Corsiniana
Palazzo Corsini
Via della Lungara 10
00165 Rome
(+39) 06 680271
(+39) 06 6861983
Fax (+39) 06 68027343
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:
Opening hours:
Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday,
Friday: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday closed.
The library is closed in August.

The Library of the - Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei