Malatestian Library, Memory of the world

Cesena - Piazza Bufalini, 1

Malatestian Library, Memory of the world


Entry price: € 5.00
reduced 4 € for children under 18 years and over 60, and members of affiliated associations, students 2 €. Costs refer only to guided tours.


Always open
Guided tours from Monday to Saturday from 9 to 18.45 on Sundays and holidays from 10 to 12.30


Telephone: +39 0547 610892
FAX: +39 0547 21237


The Malatestiana Library, also known as the Malatesta Novello Library, is a public library in Cesena. It was the first European civic library, belonging to the Commune and open to everybody. It was commissioned by the Lord of Cesena, Malatesta Novello. The works were directed by Matteo Nuti from Fano (a pupil of Leon Battista Alberti) and lasted from 1447 to 1452.


The Malatestiana Library is the only one in the world, of the type called humanistic-conventual, which has preserved structure, fittings and codexes since its opening for more than 550 years. The main doorway was the work of Agostino di Duccio (1418-1481). The wonderful walnut door dates back to 1454 and was carved by Cristoforo da San Giovanni in Persiceto.

Inside, the library shows its geometric design, typical of the early Italian Renaissance. The aula has a basilical shape, with three naves which are divided by ten rows of white, local stone columns; the campates are eleven for each aisle, pole vaulted. The central nave is barrel vaulted and ends with a rose under which is the gravestone of Malatesta Novello.

The fittings are composed of 58 desks, with coat of arms at the sides. The light comes in through the 44 Venetian style windows, which were perfectly designed for reading. Inside are conserved 340 manuscripts of the centuries 9th-15th, in latin, greek and hebraic. The oldest manuscript in the library is a copy of Isidore's Etymologiae.


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