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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Italian Studies: Libraries & Archives



Alphabetica is the portal to the new digital ecosystem of national bibliographic services, which includes millions of bibliographic notices and digital materials from the collections held by over 6.500 libraries, which have been participating to the National Library Service SBN (Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale) for over 30 years now. The portal allows simultaneous search in many databases managed by ICCU and now connected in the ecosystem.

Biblioteca Ambrosiana was founded in 1609 and is located in Milan, Italy. The library contains over one million printed volumes, over 40,000 manuscripts, 12,000 drawings, engravings, and other documents dating from the sixteenth century and onwards.

Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana is one of the oldest public libraries in history. Founded in 1468, the library provides access to thousands of manuscripts, incunabula, Renaissance texts and artwork, and more.

Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana is located in Florence and contains around 11,000 manuscripts, 2,500 Papyri, 566 Incunabula, over 1,500 printed books from the 16th Century, and well over 100,000 books from the 17th to the 20th Centuries. Various collections from the library are available to view online for free through their digital repository.

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze is the largest public, national library in Italy. It is one of two major national libraries, the other of which is the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma. Since 1870, the library has collected copies of all publications coming from Italy.

Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli is the third largest library in Italy. It contains over 1.4 million printed volumes, 18,000 manuscripts, around 300,000 pamphlets, 4,500 incunabula, and over 8,000 periodicals. 

Archives & Digital Collections

Archives Portal Europe provides access to archival information from various European countries as well as information on archival institutions throughout Europe.

Archivio di Stato di Firenze was founded in 1852 and contains public records and archives for the city of Florence. The archive also has several digital collections available for users which can be accessed here

The Central Archives of the State are the primary National Archives for Italy, located in Rome. Their website provides access to a number of digital collections, including a fashion archive, general archive, architecture archiveand a business archive

The British Library is notable for its collection of digitized manuscripts, including illuminated manuscripts of The Divine Comedy and other notable Italian works. 

The Digital Vatican Library provides free access to the digitized collection of the Vatican Library. This includes manuscripts, incunabula, printed materials, coins and medals, and other archival materials. 

Duecento collects Italian poetry from ancient times to Dante. You can search by word, writer, and type of poetry. Over 200 authors are included in the database.

Europeana provides users with access to art, manuscripts, music, newspapers, photography, maps, and more from all over Europe. 

Manus Online provides access to digitized images of manuscripts from public and private libraries. 

The Medici Archive Project seeks to aid the study of the epistolary collection of the Medici Grand Dukes, titled Mediceo del Principato. The Project provides digital access to and information regarding this near-complete set of letters.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Illinois has several notable Italian collections, including the Cavagna Collection, which can be viewed online, and the Groeber Collection. The RBML also has a custom search function to aid your research process.

The University of Notre Dame's Hesburgh Libraries are notable for their extensive Italian collection. The Zahm Dante Collection has over 3,500 volumes and is available for digital viewing through the exhibit, Renaissance Dante in Print. Additionally, the library contains a large collection of early printed books, incunabula, as well as works from notable Italian writers like Boccaccio, Petrarch, Ariosto, and more.

The University of Pennsylvania libraries, namely the Henry Charles Lea Library and Penn Rare Book and Manuscript Libraryhave a variety of Italian materials, including a collection of family papers from Italy, as well as other Italian manuscripts, incunabula, and more. 


The Bargello Museum opened 1865 as a museum, but was previously a prison and housed the Florentine police. The museum houses works by Michelangelo, Donatello, and other famous Italian artists. Additionally, the museum provides access to previous exhibits through its exhibit archive

The Accademiafounded in 1784 in Florence, is most notable for housing the Michelangelo's David. It also houses work by Botticelli and other infamous Italian artists. You can search their website for specific collections as well as view some of their exhibits--past and present--online.

The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery in Rome containing works by Caravaggio, Titian, Bernini, and others, as well as classical antiquities. The collection is available to view online through their Artists and Works page, and more information about the collection is available on their website as well.

The Uffizi Gallery is one of the most famous art museums in Italy. Located in Florence, the museum contains works by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael, and numerous other Italian artists. Much of the collection is available to view online on the Artworks page, and past exhibits may be viewed as well.

The Accademia in Venice boasts a robust collection of Italian artwork, including works by da Vinci, Titian, Vasari, Bellini, and others. The collection can be viewed online as well as the history of the collection.

The Vatican Museums are a series of art museums in Vatican City. Among the artwork collected is work by Raphael, Michelangelo, Titian, Caravaggio, and da Vinci, as well as sculptures, tapestries, and artwork by other famous Italian artists. The artwork is available to view online through a searchable database, which is regularly updated.