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From 1701 to the present days

The Casanatense Library was founded by the Dominicans of the Monastery of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome and opened to the general public, according to the will of Cardinal Girolamo Casanate.
In order to contain the Library's collection the Friars built a new architectural structure in the area of the monastery's cloister. The Salone (hall) was probably designed by the well-known Roman architect Carlo Fontana, but it was finally realised by Antonio Maria Borioni. The Library was opened on November 3, 1701, only one year after cardinal Casanate's death. The first nucleum of the Library was the Cardinal's collection, which contained up to 25.000 volumes.

The Library was linked to the most important european centres of book commerce, and it was interested both in modern production and antique books, with the aim of being an encyclopaedic library. The purchase concerned not only the traditional religious and theological subjetcs, but also Roman law, economy, and history of the city of Rome. It excelled among the roman libraries both for the bright policy of acquisitions and for the expert bibliotheconomical and catalographical activity, mainly due to the figure of father G.B. Audiffredi (1714-1794).

Giovanni Battista AudiffrediIn 1873 the Italian Government extended to Rome the law on the suppression of religious corporations. According to that law, the legal property of the Casanatense went to the State. The Dominicans started legal proceedings against the Italian Government, which lasted untill 1884, when they lost the property of the Library forever.

Bibliography:
iconaM. Panetta, La "libraria" di Mattia Casanate, Roma, Bulzoni, 1988
iconaV. De Gregorio, La Biblioteca Casanatense di Roma, Napoli, Ed. scientifiche italiane, 1993
iconaV. De Gregorio, Casanatense e dintorni..., Napoli, CUEN, 1997

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