The Laurentian Library, formerly called the Laurentian Library, is one of the major collections of manuscripts in the world, and an important architectural complex in Florence, designed by Michelangelo between 1519 and 1534.
It houses 68,405 volumes, 406 incunabula, 4,058 cinquecentine and 11,044 precious manuscripts as well as the largest Italian collection of Egyptian papyri. It is accessed from the cloisters of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence, hence the name Laurentian. The premises of the Library were designed for Cardinal Giulio de ‘Medici, later Pope Clement VII, who in 1519 gave the commission to Michelangelo. On the death of his father and Clement VII, Michelangelo left Florence, with the intention of never to return.
The project was completed only in 1571 , the year of the opening to the public, other work was carried out from time to time until the early twentieth century.
The library is one of the major achievements of the Florentine artist Michelangelo in the field of architecture, is also important for the decorations and the interior design that has come down to us in good condition (Michelangelo also provided drawings of the wooden stalls for reading the manuscripts).
The core of the library’s collection comes from the private collections of the Medici. Many manuscripts were copied, often from the work of humanists such as Pico della Mirandola, Coluccio Salutati, Poggio Bracciolini.
The collection of some 2,500 papyrus, unusual presence for an Italian library, is the result of Italian excavations in the land of Egypt, the library is still open to scholars, that can consult, all volumes in the collection and in the case of volume too delicate to be handled, via the microfilm.