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Laurentian Medicean Library

The Laurentian Medicean Library was created to contain the book collections belonging to the members of the Medici family. It was strongly desired by Pope Clement VII de' Medici and was designed by Michelangelo, who directed its works during the years 1520-1534. The library was completed in 1571 by Giorgio Vasari and Bartolomeo Ammannati on behalf of Cosimo I de' Medici, and opened to the public that same year. After climbing the steps, you enter a large reading room, which has remained almost unchanged over the centuries. The Laurentian Library is one of the rare places in the world where almost everything is original, from the carved linden wood ceiling, carried out by Giovan Battista del Tasso and based on Michelangelo's original design, to the windows decorated with the Medici coats of arms designed by Giorgio Vasari. The floor, where the greatest learned individuals once walked, is made of red and white terracotta and is based on a design by Niccolò Tribolo, one of Buonarroti's pupils. The reading benches, called Plutei and designed by Michelangelo, are arranged in two parallel rows and have a dual function: they are lecterns and hold manuscripts. 
The Laurentian Library can be considered a guiding light of humanity. Among the priceless treasures kept here, there are the codices that are fundamental for their uniqueness and antiquity containing the works of Tacitus, Pliny, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Quintilian, the Virgil corrected in 494 by Turcio Rufio Aproniano Asterio, as well as the oldest evidence of Justinian's Corpus Iuris, copied shortly after his promulgation.
The Library also contains the "Florentine Codex", a manuscript entitled "Historia universale de las cosas de Nueva Espana", written by Friar Bernardino de Sahagun, the first missionary friar who arrived in Mexico and collected accounts from the indigenous population. There are twelve volumes on the subject of with the Aztec gods, astrology and divination, as well as the daily life of Aztec society told by the local elders. The manuscript was given by King Philip of Spain to Grand Duke Francis I as a gift for his marriage to Bianca Cappello. Among the 11,000 manuscripts, the most important collections worthy of mention are the Egyptian papyri, Greek and Latin papyri, Plato's Dialogues on carta bona, Oriental manuscripts and Armenian manuscripts. The Library's importance is not based on the number of books it contains, but on the fact that it has privileged the antiquity and rarity of the texts for centuries.

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  • Progetto finanziato a valere sui fondi Legge n. 77 del 20 febbraio 2006 “Misure speciali di tutela e fruizione dei siti italiani di interesse culturale, paesaggistico e ambientale, inseriti nella “lista del patrimonio mondiale”, posti sotto la tutela dell’UNESCO”