Make Italy Yours

A blog of Italian Culture and Nature

Category: Museums in Italy

The Englishwoman visits Senigallia’s Biblioteca Antonelliana. Part I: Manuscripts.

Libraries and rare books in Le Marche

Senigallia is a pleasant resort town. As well as its lively Lungomare (Promenade) and its Spiaggia di Velluto (velvet beach), it boasts an attractive old town and a fine communal library.

It is much easier to explain face to face, rather than on the telephone, who I am; a British librarian, and what I want to do; spread awareness of the bibliographic treasures of Le Marche. So it was easy to book an appointment to look at some of the manuscripts and rare books in Senigallia’s  library, and return a day or two later, as Senigallia is just down the road from us. The staff were most welcoming and helpful. The conditions were not the best for photography, but I thought you’d like to see the manuscripts anyway.

The Biblioteca Antonelliana is called after Cardinal Antonelli, its founder, who in 1767 left all his books to the public administration of…

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Save time for Orvieto’s Etruscan Museum


Orvieto Etruscan Museum, ItalyThere’s so much to see when you’re visiting the medieval Umbrian town of Orvieto, that you may forget to stop by the Fondazione Museo Claudio Faina, but that would be  a mistake.

This museum, which houses both the collection of the Faina Counts and Orvieto’s civic collection, is most impressive for its Etruscan objects – this is after all, one of the regions most associated with Etruscan civilization. But there are also impressive items from Ancient Greece and Rome.

Orvieto Etruscan Museum, ItalyAnd the noble home with its frescoed rooms in which the collection is held – just across the piazza from Orvieto’s impressive Duomo, and boasting spectacular views onto the Duomo’s 14th century mosaic facade – is worth the price of admission alone.

Conte Claudio Faina (1875-1954) seems to have been an obsessive collector of Etruscan artifacts.

Orvieto Etruscan Museum, ItalyMany are from nearby Etruscan tombs, but it seems he also had close ties to…

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The Englishwoman visits the Leopardi Library/Biblioteca Leopardi

Libraries and rare books in Le Marche

This library has survived intact for over 200 years thanks to Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), one of Italy’s best-loved poets. He spent the greater part of his childhood and youth reading in this library, the creation of his father, Monaldo Leopardi.

The Italian class system is not the same as ours; however, I think it is safe to say that the Leopardi were what we would call gentry, and quite comfortably off. Monaldo was an “avid book collector” (p 363 of Canti / GiacomoLeopardi ; translated and annotated by JonathanGalassi. London : Penguin, c2010). In fact he spent so much money on this library that his wife had to sell her jewellery to restore the family fortunes.

I like Monaldo because he was more than a bibliophile. His instincts were those of a librarian; in other words, he wanted to share his books with everyone.

To children friends citizens Monaldo Leopardi [gives] the library in the year 1812 To children friends citizens Monaldo Leopardi…

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Palazzo Vecchio

Musei Vaticani


by Arielle Tan

I have always wanted to visit the beautiful city of the Vatican. How could someone possibly not be interested in one of the pillars of our civilization? As you may know now, I am a huge art and history lover – the Vatican was and still is a must-go in my travel bucket list. I have to admit that Dan Brown’s novel Angels & Demons fuelled even more my desire to visit this place. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to fulfill my vacation-dream and visit this breath-taking city.

The first thing you will see once you enter the city is the gigantic St. Peters Square and the Basilica. The beautiful architecture, the obelisk, the fountains and of course the angels on the two arches are simply magnificent. I could have spent my whole day looking at every single detail of the famous square but I had to go to the Musei Vaticani – the museum of the Vatican City. I suggest you to buy your tickets in advance or you will have to wait hours before being let in. And the waiting line is monstrously huge.

Galleria carte geograficheThe first section I visited was the amazing Gallery of Maps, my favourite section of the entire museum. Upon entering, you will see on both walls gigantic topographical maps of the whole of Italy. 01_carte_geograficheEach fresco maps the entirety of the Italian peninsula and depicts a perspective view of a particular region. But the most breath-taking part of this gallery is its ceiling. Gaze up to the 120 meters long ceiling filled (by filled I mean without any bare space) of gorgeous paintings. Some call it the Golden Corridor or the Golden Gallery – I could not agree more.

After going through Raphael’s Rooms, the tapestries section and in the Borgia Apartment to admire the incredible frescoes, I finally got to step in the most known and loved chapel in the world: the Sistine Chapel. I don’t think I can even describe my amazement when I saw Michelangelo’s most famous paintings, The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam (and of course the entirety of the chapel’s ceiling).Giudizio universale. Angeli che annunciano la fine dei tempi Angeli con gli strumenti della Passione, lunetta destraSince we are not allowed to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel, I found some photos online to show you the expertise of this master painter.

This little article does not even give justice whatsoever to the Musei Vaticani. I highly suggest you to go visit one of the richest places we have in the whole world. I feel one visit is not enough to give the due attention and respect to every treasure found in the museum. I could spend hours just watching the ceiling of the Gallery of Maps or even looking at every single detail in the Sistine Chapel… But that will be for another and soon-to-be trip.




Vatican Museums








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