Diocesi di Casale Monferrato
piazza Calabiana,1 15033 Casale Monferrato (AL)
The library was founded and built as a “charitable institution” by Mons. Caravadossi, Bishop of Casale Monferrato, in 1738. He endowed it with many books and an annuity for its maintenance and management. The original premises were in the old Seminary in Via Palestro, where the first library nucleus, used by the seminarists for their studies, was built as early as 1610. The Napoleonic decree of 1805 transferred the library to the Municipality of Casale, until 1807. Subsequently, in the absence of dedicated rooms, Bishop Villaret had the library moved to the Oratory of San Filippo Neri until the construction of the current building, annexed to the west arm of the new Seminary. It was built to designs by the architect Antonio Vigna and is decorated with frescoes by the Ivaldi brothers, nicknamed “the Mutes”. In 1832, the theologian librarian Gaspare Seggiaro reordered, catalogued and stacked the books on the wooden shelves still in use today. In 1904, the new librarian Father Cristiforo Sala further reorganized all the books. His card index, completed in 1911, and still usable today, contains the following figures: 30,000 books, 160 incunabula, 400 rare editions, and 120 manuscripts on both paper and parchment. There are approximately 3,000 printed editions from the 16th century. A computer inventory is currently being compiled as part of the “SBN” national project, and can be consulted online. Since 2010 the library has been connected to the “SIBEP”, the network centre of the Ecclesiastic Libraries of Piedmont. It currently has 65,000 books, antique and modern, from acquisitions, bequests and donations, also from private citizens. The Seminary Library is an independent ecclesiastic and civil legal entity. It has its own Board of Directors, whose Chairman and legal representative is the Bishop of the Diocese of Casale Monferrato.
The Seminary Library is entered through the wooden door that gives access to the former Episcopal Seminary of the Diocese of Casale Monferrato. The real entrance to the library is located on the left side of the wide corridor connecting the rooms. On the other side, the visitor is greeted by an oval antechamber with handsome grisaille decoration, which is conducive to reading. It not only houses the catalogues, old inventory books and computer terminal, but is now also used for consultation. The old hall, where generations of seminarists studied and broadened their knowledge of theology, the humanities and the sciences, is the throbbing heart of the Seminary Library. While both the architecture and the paintings are very pleasing to the eye, visitors are also enchanted by the antique wooden furnishings, constituted by tall boiserie shelving on two levels with a walkway, which house the over 30,000 books of the antique collection. The apse is home to two precious 18th-century globes that represent the sky and the earth, made by Father Pietro da Vinchio, and several 19th-century objects from the seminary’s science classrooms: a geodoscope, a Galilean monocular, an electrostatic current generator, and a gramophone. The library is currently used for exhibitions, conventions and conferences regarding the activities of the diocese. Special display cabinets here house a permanent exhibition of several incunabula, manuscripts and rare editions, which are rotated with other rare books. The incunabula include Arbor vitae crucifixae by Ubertino da Casale (1485) and Il comment del Landino alla Divina Commedia (1491). Among the precious illuminated manuscripts, we find the 14th-century Breviario Antico and Le Orazioni di Cicerone by Giovanni da Cremona (1436). Last but not least, the 16th-century Chirugia Magna by Paracelsus (1573), Avenzoar Ibn Zufr containing all the medicine of Averroes (1549), and La Biblia Sacra Polyglotta (1657). Activities promoted by the Diocesan Library include the “Armaria et Charta” events in collaboration with the Diocesan archive, in which library materials with particular relevance to the chosen theme are displayed and illustrated.
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- Cattedrale di Casale Monferrato
- Casale Monferrato
- type of building
- Musei ecclesiastici
- piazza Calabiana,1 15033 Casale Monferrato (AL)
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