Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Marciana (St.Mark’s Square Museums)

The Sansoviniana library as known as National Marciana Library is one of the biggest and most important libraries in Italy. It is in Saint Marks square, in front of the Doge’s Palace.

The palace is a project by Sansovino and it was built between 1537 and 1588 by Scamozzi (after Sansovino death) during the building Sansovino was arrested because the ceiling of the palace collapsed he was then released after he paid the expenses for such a damage.

Today, along with the Zecca, the former Mint that now houses the reading rooms, it is the monumental seat and part of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, which preserves precious manuscripts such as the sixteenth-century Breviario Grimani and Fra Mauro’s Map of the world, as well as antique books, including those of Aldo Manuzio.

On the first floor is the Vestibule, with the ceiling decorated by Titian’s painting of La Sapienza, and the Library, with a vaulted ceiling that constitutes a veritable “manifesto” of Venetian Mannerist painting, consisting of 21 tondi painted by seven artists selected for the occasion including Titian and Sansovino himself. The most famous are the three tondi by Paolo Veronese. The walls are decorated by canvases portraying the Philosophers, some of which were painted by Titian and Veronese.

The first book comes from a donation of Cardinale Giovanni Bressarione in 1486 then donations from others Venetian library as well some Byzantine manuscripts, are from mid orient due to the commercial expansion of Venice with that part of the world.

The Marciana become the official library of the Republic since a law from 1603 ordered that every printer must deposit the first copy of every book they printed.

Address: S. Marco 7, 30124 Venice

For more info (timetables, prices, reservation) here’s the link to the official website: