The Public Library is situated in what used to be the antique 13th century convent of S. Francesco. It was renovated between the years 1749-1762 by the architect Alfonso Torreggiani, from Bologna, and then by Cosimo Morelli, from Imola.
They designed the imposing staircase leading to the first floor and the refined Aula Magna which was originally destined to host the library of the convent. It was frescoed by Alessandro Della Nave and Antonio Villa who decorated it with a painted balcony with skylights, parts in stucco and others in faux marble.
This is the oldest part of the library, and it contains over 13,000 volumes – some of which are rare antiques that testify the history of Imola. At the end of the 18th century, during the Napoleonic abolition of the convents, the religious libraries were confiscated by the government and the one of S. Francesco, which was the largest and the richest, acquired all the others of the town. In 1811 the Libreria di S. Francesco became a part of the municipal organisation and during the 18th and 19th century grew rapidly thanks to the many private donations.
Today the library contains more than 450,000 volumes of which 80,000 are antique. The recent renovations have permitted to open on the ground floor large halls with open shelves dedicated to Italian and foreign fiction, non-fiction and essays, tourist guides, magazines and newspapers. Some of the services offered are: consultation of the catalogues on line through the 6 computers, free internet navigation – maximum one hour a day with booking of the computer – and interlibrary loans. The archive room is reserved for the study of manuscripts, rare books and various documents.
Accessible to the disabled
(from 15/09 to 07/06)
Monday & Saturday 8.30am to 1.00pm
from Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 6.45pm; Tuesday evening also 8.00pm to 10.00pm
(from 08/06 to 31/07 & from 22/08 to 14/09)
from Monday to Saturday 8.30am to 1.00pm
Tuesday & Thursday also 2.15pm to 7.00pm
(from 01/08 to 09/08 only ground floor services)
from Monday to Friday 8.30am to 1.00pm
Tuesday & Thursday also 2.15pm to 6.00pm
Closed from 10th to 21st August included
Last Updated: 06/06/2020