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Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan

Photo © Chris Brown. View all images in our Biblioteca Ambrosiana Photo Gallery.

The Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosian Library) in Milan, housed along with the Pinoteca Ambroisiana (Ambrosian Gallery) is one of the great repositories of European culture.

The library was founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo (1564-1631), whose agents scoured Western Europe, Greece and Syria for books and manuscripts.

Cardinal Borromeo's collection of more than 30,000 manuscripts includes a 5th-century illustrated Iliad, early editions of Dante's Divine Comedy (1353), and the Muratorian Canon (170 AD), the earliest example of an authoritative list of Biblical books.

Construction on a building to house the cardinal's manuscripts and printed books began in 1603. He also gave his collection of paintings and drawings to the library.

Shortly after the cardinal's death, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana acquired 12 manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci, including his Codex Atlanticus. There are now some 12,000 drawings by European artists from the 14th through the 19th centuries, obtained from the collections of a wide range of patrons and artists, academicians, collectors, art dealers, and architects.

Quick Facts on Biblioteca Ambrosiana

Site Information
Names:Ambrosian Library; Biblioteca Ambrosiana; Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan; Veneranda Biblioteca Pinoteca Ambrosiana
Visitor and Contact Information
Location:Milan, Italy
Coordinates:45.463171° N, 9.185225° E  (view on Google Maps)
Lodging:View hotels near this location
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

Map of Biblioteca Ambrosiana

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Article Info

Title:Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan
Author:Holly Hayes
Last updated:10/26/2009
Link code:<a href="http://www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/milan-biblioteca-ambrosiana">Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan</a>