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Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan

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 · Veneranda Biblioteca Pinoteca Ambrosiana
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:45.463171° N, 9.185225° E
Address:Milan, Italy
Hours:Mon-Fri 9:30am-5pm. Closed all holidays, including the Feast Day of St. Ambrose (December 7).
Lodging:View hotels near Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


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