Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze

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Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze

Central National Library of Florence

Biblioteca Nazionale Firenze 2008.jpg

Photo taken in 2008

founding 1714
Duration 11 million media units, of
which 8.8 million volumes
(as of November 2015)
Library type National Library
place Florence
operator state
management Luca Bellingeri
Website Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze
Bust of Antonio Magliabechi

The Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (BNCF) in Florence is one of the two central Italian national libraries alongside the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma (BNCR) in Rome . Both libraries have the right to deposit copies . With a stock of 8.8 million volumes, the BNCF is the largest library in Italy .


The world's first public library was founded in Florence in 1441 (Medicea pubblica) . The history of the BNCF goes back to the librarian Antonio Magliabechi , who in 1714 gave his private book collection of around 30,000 volumes to Grand Duke Cosimo III. de 'Medici for the establishment of a public library (a beneficio universale della città di Firenze) . From 1737 this library was granted legal deposit rights limited to the city of Florence, which was extended to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1743 . As Biblioteca Magliabechiana , it was first opened to the public in 1747. The holdings were expanded in the further course, in particular through donations, bequests and the dissolution of the monastery.

On December 22, 1861, the then Italian Minister of Education, Francesco De Sanctis, ordered the merger of the Biblioteca Magliabechiana ( Uffizi ) and the Biblioteca Palatina ( Palazzo Pitti ) to form the Biblioteca Nazionale . With a decree of November 25, 1869, the library was granted legal deposit throughout Italy.

After the Kingdom of Italy emerged from the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont in 1861 , Florence took over from Turin as the capital in 1865 . As early as 1870, the rest of the Papal States could be eliminated and Rome declared the country's capital. On this occasion, the national library in Florence was not moved to Rome, but a second national library was opened in Rome in 1876. These two libraries have been called the "Central National Library" since 1885 in order to emphasize them compared to the other, lower-ranking Italian national libraries.

From 1911, according to the plans of the architect Cesare Bazzani, today's library building was built on the Piazza dei Cavalleggeri on the Arno and then expanded by Vincenzo Mazzei. The library moved into the new building in 1935. The building and the library's holdings were badly affected by the flood disaster of 1966 .


With the first version of the Italian Library Regulations from 1869, the BNCF was given the task of collecting all Italian literature, i.e. H. to collect and document all literature written in Italian and all literature relating to Italy as completely as possible. The BNCF's Carta dei Servizi notes, regarding the functions of the National Library: “We collect and keep a copy of every work published in Italy, a copy of every Italian university thesis, every electronic publication, works that reflect Italian culture abroad and international culture best to document. "

A royal decree of 1885 obliged the BNCF to publish a national bibliography documenting this collecting activity , which appeared bimonthly from 1886 to 1900, later monthly, under the name Bollettino delle pubblicazioni italiane ricevute per diritto di stampa . In 1958 the Bollettino changed its name to Bibliografia Nazionale Italiana (BNI), under which it still appears today, comprehensively since then, updated quarterly on CD-ROM. The BNCF edits this national bibliography, but it is edited by the Central Institute for Cataloging in Italy (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico delle Biblioteche Italiane e per le Informazioni Bibliografiche - ICCU) , which was founded in 1951 to help develop library services across the country the same level. The ICCU also plays an important role in recording and maintaining the many old stocks in the country.


In November 2015, the BNCF held around 11 million media items, including 8,843,734 volumes, 417,754 periodicals , 4,089 incunabula , 25,296 manuscripts, 29,123 prints from the 16th century and around a million autographs .

The following special collections deserve special mention within this collection: the letters of Giacomo Leopardi (Luigi De Sinner, 1858); European and non-European literature (Angelo De Gubernatis); Church reform in Italy (Piero Guicciardini, 1877); numerous aldins from the Nencini collection; Manuscripts by Ugo Foscolo (Diego Martelli); Savonaroliana, media about Girolamo Savonarola (Lorenzo Capponi); Collections of letters from publishers Giovan Pietro Vieusseux and Le Monnier; Tommaseo estate; History and literature (Landau-Finlay, 1949, 25,000 vol.) And the Galileo collection, etc. a. containing his autobiographical works and the Codex Sidereus Nuncius from 1610.


The reading hall

The BNCF is a library that is open to the public for everyone over the age of 18. All services can be used, but a permit is required to enter special departments ( Sale di consultazione , Sala manoscritti and Sala musica ).

In order to record the holdings, there are both alphabetical and systematic general catalogs (for monographs and periodicals, by author and title, by subject, etc.) and special catalogs (catalogs of the holdings of the former Biblioteca Magliabechiana and Biblioteca Palatina , catalogs of geographical maps, university publications , Music manuscripts etc.).

It is possible to access these catalogs electronically. The Bibliografia Nazionale Italiana (BNI) is available on CD-ROM, as is the BNCF catalog, which contains 700,000 publications from 1958 to the present day and appears eleven times a year. The BNCF OPAC contains over a million bibliographical entries (as of 2005). The BNCF OPAC also includes: Biblioteca Marucelliana , Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana , Biblioteca Riccardiana , Biblioteca dell'Archivio di Stato , Biblioteca della Fondazione di studi storici Filippo Turati .

Another online offer of the BNCF is the Catalogo in linea dei manoscritti Galileiani , a data set created in cooperation with external institutions that includes all of Galileo Galilei's manuscripts in the library . The BNCF is also part of the Italian digital library ( Biblioteca Digitale Italiana ), a project under the control of the ICCU.

The catalogs offered by the BNCF follow the rules of DDC or RICA and ISBD . The first data format used , which enabled the exchange of bibliographic data, was ANNAMARC and was introduced in collaboration with the Library of Congress in 1975 to provide a MARC program that is adapted to Italian cataloging rules. ANNAMARC was replaced in 1987 by the international standard format UNIMARC, which, together with the introduction of the recordings according to RICA and ISBD, the complete notations of the 19th edition of Dewey's decimal classification and the indication of the short titles in the registers, promoted the formal development of the national bibliography . Related to this is the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SBN), a project of the ICCU, based in Florence, which merged with the cataloging system in 1987 and whose main objectives are, on the one hand, the automation of library services and, on the other hand, the creation of a national register of the collections of each Libraries are. The SBN has u. a. also participated in the development of the OPAC of the BNCF.



  • Günther Näther: Librarianship in Italy. An introduction . Saur, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-598-10759-5

Web links

Commons : Central National Library of Florence  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. .
  2. ^ BNCF: La Biblioteca - Informazioni generali - Notes storiche
  3. ^ BNCF: Bibliografia nazionale italiana - Presentazione
  4. ^ BNCF: La Biblioteca - Informazioni generali - Patrimonio librario
  5. BNCF: La Biblioteca - General Information - Modalità di accesso

Coordinates: 43 ° 46 ′ 1.4 "  N , 11 ° 15 ′ 44.8"  E