The Library of the Sacred Convent was established in 1230, with the arrival of the first friars in the living quarters close to the Basilica. Its original location is unknown, but documents from the fourteenth century describe the library as divided into “public” and “private”, and located on the western side of the Cloister of Pope Sixtus IV.
As the collection of books increased, an upper library was constructed above the vaults of this hall, finished around the middle of the fifteenth century. Also preserved in the library are the historic-administrative archives of the Sacred Convent, important in particular for its copious diplomatic fonds. The richness and importance of the bibliographic and documentary patrimony of this library have already provided enough material for a vast historical-artistic and scientific literature about its activities, its manuscript illuminations, its texts and their traditions, its music fonds including manuscripts and sheet music, and its incunabules. The patrimony consists of among other things about 1,100 manuscripts in the Archival Fonds, 359 incunables, about 3,200 sixteenth century works, over 150,000 volumes and 250 current periodicals.
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