The library was founded by the Dominican fathers of the Convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, and opened in 1701. Founded as a public library, its first core of works was the legacy of the collection belonging to the cardinal Girolamo Casanate (1620-1700), with over 25,000 volumes.
The library extended its holdings with subsequent acquisitions, works concerning both traditional religious and theological disciplines and studies in philosophy and Roman law, economics and works concerning the city of Rome. In fact, the library was connected with the main centres of the European book trade and was active both in producing the books of the moment and in the antique market, aiming at creating a “universal library”.
After 1872, the library passed from the Papal State to the Administration of the Italian State. Today the Casanatense Library is a peripheral Institute of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, and contains about 400,000 printed volumes, 6,000 manuscripts and 2,200 incunabula.
For more information: www.casanatense.it