Bab Aronson

Bab Aronson

Published: 17 Sep 2023


Biblioteca Casanatense, located in Rome, Italy, is a captivating and enigmatic landmark that holds a rich history within its walls. This prestigious library has gained fame not only for its impressive collection of books and manuscripts but also for its architectural grandeur and cultural significance.

As you delve into the depths of the Biblioteca Casanatense, you will uncover a plethora of intriguing facts that showcase its uniqueness and allure. From its foundation in the early 18th century to its role as a haven for scholars and researchers, this library has been a treasure trove of knowledge and an architectural marvel.

Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the enigmatic secrets of Biblioteca Casanatense. Discover its hidden gems, explore its stunning architecture, and delve into the fascinating stories that have shaped its legacy. Let us dive into the 16 intriguing and lesser-known facts about this remarkable landmark.

Table of Contents

The Oldest Public Library in Rome

Biblioteca Casanatense holds the prestigious title of being the oldest public library in Rome. It was founded in 1701 by Cardinal Girolamo Casanate and since then has served as a hub of knowledge and intellectual exploration.

Extensive Collection of Rare Books

One of the highlights of Biblioteca Casanatense is its extensive collection of rare books. With over 400,000 volumes, including manuscripts and incunabula, the library offers a treasure trove of knowledge for researchers and book enthusiasts.

Impressive Architectural Design

The architecture of Biblioteca Casanatense is a true masterpiece. The library boasts a stunning Baroque design, created by renowned architects Giovanni Antonio de Rossi and Carlo Fontana.

The Splendid Sala Casanatense

The main reading room of Biblioteca Casanatense, known as Sala Casanatense, is a sight to behold. With its intricate frescoes, ornate decoration, and towering bookshelves, this room exudes grandeur and invites visitors to immerse themselves in the world of literature.

Wide Range of Topics

Biblioteca Casanatense covers a diverse range of subjects in its collection. From theology and philosophy to medicine and law, the library offers a comprehensive selection of texts that cater to various academic disciplines.

Archaeological and Numismatic Collection

In addition to its vast collection of books, Biblioteca Casanatense houses an impressive archaeological and numismatic collection. Visitors can explore ancient artifacts, coins, and medals, providing a glimpse into the rich history of Rome.

A Paradise for Art Lovers

Art enthusiasts will be delighted to discover that Biblioteca Casanatense features an array of exquisite artworks. From paintings to sculptures, the library showcases masterpieces that add to its cultural significance.

Open to the Public

Unlike some private libraries, Biblioteca Casanatense is open to the public, welcoming both scholars and curious visitors. This accessibility allows individuals from all walks of life to appreciate and engage with the valuable resources it offers.

Silent Sanctuary for Study

Biblioteca Casanatense provides a peaceful environment for studying and research. Its serene atmosphere, combined with the wealth of knowledge at hand, makes it an ideal destination for scholars seeking a quiet haven to delve into their academic pursuits.

Staircase of the Thousand Steps

A famed architectural feature of Biblioteca Casanatense is the “Scalone dei Centoventi” or the “Staircase of the Thousand Steps.” This majestic staircase adds an element of grandeur to the library’s entrance and is a must-see for any visitor.

Home to Historical Treasures

Biblioteca Casanatense is home to a range of historical treasures. From ancient manuscripts to centuries-old maps, these artifacts provide invaluable insights into the past and serve as a testament to the library’s significance as a cultural institution.

Continual Growth of the Collection

Biblioteca Casanatense is committed to expanding its collection and preserving knowledge for future generations. With ongoing acquisitions and donations, the library ensures that its shelves are constantly enriched with new works.

Contributions to Academic Research

Academic researchers greatly benefit from Biblioteca Casanatense’s wealth of resources. The library actively supports scholarly endeavors and has become a trusted destination for scholars conducting in-depth research in various fields.

Engaging Cultural Events

Biblioteca Casanatense hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including author readings, exhibitions, and lectures. These events provide an opportunity for the public to engage with the library’s collection and immerse themselves in intellectual discourse.

A Hidden Gem

Biblioteca Casanatense is often regarded as a hidden gem in Rome. While it may not be as widely recognized as some of the city’s famous landmarks, it offers a unique and enriching experience for those seeking a deeper understanding of history and literature.

A Testament to Rome’s Intellectual Legacy

As the oldest public library in Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense stands as a testament to the city’s enduring intellectual legacy. Its esteemed reputation and dedication to preserving knowledge make it a valuable resource for scholars and a place of inspiration for all.

Whether you are an avid reader, a history enthusiast, or simply curious about Rome’s cultural treasures, Biblioteca Casanatense is a must-visit destination. The library’s enigmatic charm, extensive collection, and rich history make it an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the power of knowledge.


In conclusion, Biblioteca Casanatense is a truly enigmatic landmark filled with fascinating history and architectural beauty. From its origins as a Dominican convent to its current role as a prestigious library, it has stood the test of time and remains a symbol of Rome’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a book lover, or simply seeking a unique experience, a visit to Biblioteca Casanatense is a must-do in the Eternal City. Immerse yourself in its grandeur, explore its extensive collection, and marvel at the secrets that lie within its walls. Prepare to be captivated by its charm and discover why it is considered one of Rome’s hidden gems.


1. What is Biblioteca Casanatense?

Biblioteca Casanatense is a historical library located in Rome, Italy. It was founded in 1701 and is known for its extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and artworks.

2. How can I visit Biblioteca Casanatense?

To visit Biblioteca Casanatense, you can simply walk in during its opening hours. However, guided tours are also available for a more in-depth exploration of this unique landmark.

3. What can I see at Biblioteca Casanatense?

At Biblioteca Casanatense, you can admire its stunning architecture, including the beautiful Baroque-style reading room. You can also browse through its vast collection of books, manuscripts, and rare documents.

4. Is there an entrance fee?

No, there is no entrance fee to visit Biblioteca Casanatense. It is open to the public, allowing people to explore and appreciate its historical and cultural significance.

5. Can I take photographs inside the library?

Photography is generally not allowed inside the library to protect the delicate manuscripts and artifacts. However, you can always inquire about any specific guidelines during your visit.