Ateneo Veneto in culture in movement

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The Library

The magnificent hall of the Albergo Grande of the Scuola di San Fantin, decorated by the works of Tintoretto and Veronese, today is the Reading Room of the Library of the Ateneo Veneto – a unique place in Venice.

The library collection gathers more than 60,000 volumes, a majority of which are antiques that the French conceded to the Ateneo in 1812. Many of these books come from the suppressed former convents of San Salvador, San Francesco della Vigna and Santo Stefano while other books are from the Salute, the Frari, the Redentore, dalla Fava and from the Carmelitani Scalzi. Considered to be of prestigious value, there is a series of rare books on astronomy and medicine published between the 1400’s and 1600’s.

From 2008, the Ateneo has joined the Venetian centre of the Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SEBINA) – National Library System – for the cataloguing of books. From this date, the paper printed catalogue of the Ateneo’s collections was first integrated into the system and later substituted with an on-line version.

Further information and enquires related to the volumes housed in the Library and indicated in the on-line catalogue OPAC del polo SBN di Venezia is available.

The Archives, on the other hand, store the documents produced by the Ateneo since its establishment.

Opening hours

The Library is accessible only by appointment. Requests for appointments can be made by email: or by calling +39-041-522-4459.

Library hours are from Monday to Friday from 9:45am to 2pm and Wednesdays from 9:45am to 3:15pm.

At present, the use of personal books or those that are not part of the collection are not permitted.


The volumes of the collection are listed in the on-line catalogue. Also available on site are:

  • The printed catalogue and card catalogue in alphabetical order by author’s name (the entries are not by subject);
  • A comprehensive subject indexing of approximately 5,000 items of Veneto and Venetian articles;
  • A catalogue of periodicals.

Consultations and Loans

All readers can consult the Library’s materials during its opening hours. Book loans are exclusively for Members of the Ateneo Veneto.

Additional information relevant to consultations and loans are available within the  Library Rules and Regulations


For some time now, the Ateneo Veneto has been pursuing the task of digitalising its library book collection so to make it more accessible to the public and to protect the collection from further deteriorisation.

In 2022, an interesting opportunity offered by the Fondazione di Venezia through its Call “Cultura digitale” (Digital Culture) was undertaken. The objective was to support the cultural components of the city – namely, museums, libraries and archives – in their progression towards the digital world and enhancing their innovative projects by training youth in the field of culture.

Responding to this call, the Ateneo had proposed the “digitalisation project of a hundred rare and ancient medical books” selected by the Director of the library, Professor Dorit Raines from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, based upon the rarity of volumes (scarce or almost absence on online databases, particularly the Italian ones) and of their precarious state of conservation. Among these, just to cite an example, the absolute masterpiece of Girolamo Fabrici d’Acquapendente “De formato foetu”. Venetiis: per Franciscum Bolzettam, 1600 (Patavii: ex typographia Laurentij Pasquati, impress. Almae universitatis iuristarum, 1601).

The implementation of this project was undertaken by Kristian Gandin, a Master’s degree student in Digital Humanities from the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

For a longer storage and archiving of its objects and digital collections, the Ateneo Veneto stipulated an agreement with the University Library Centre of the University of Padua (Ateneo per le Biblioteche dell’Università di Padova) who with the collaboration of the University of Vienna, elaborated a platform known as PHAIDRA (Permanent Hosting, Archiving and Indexing of Digital Resources and Assets), that corresponds to the standards of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) as indicated by the European Commission as guidelines for data management.

The digitalised versions of these rare medical books have been uploaded on the platform and are freely accessible in a section dedicated to the Ateneo Veneto (PHAIDRA – Collezioni digitali | Università di Padova (

Users can browse and view these books using Book Viewer or they can be download with the PDF licenced version CC BY-NC-SA (Attribution/Attribuzione – Non Commercial/Non Commerciale – Shared/Condividi).

Historical Notes

Founded in 1812 with the establishment of the Ateneo, the Library originates from what was once  the Accademia Veneta Letteraria, (Veneto Literary Academy), Veneta Società di Medicina (Veneto Medical Society) and the Accademia dei Filareti, that emerged together in December 1810. It was first established as the Gabinetto di lettura (Literary Cabinet) in 1820, then in 1895, was recognised as a library, by the then president, Paulo Fambri. Later in 1920, the library is becomes a lending library.

During the 1900’s, its collection was further enhanced thanks to the important donations and legacies left by prominent scholars and Members such as: Franceschinis-Sacerdoti, Occioni-Bonaffons, Cipollato, Bosisio, Marconi and the Associazione Scrittori Veneti (Veneto Writers Association). Several volumes from the nineteenth century dealing with juridical, historic and humanistic subjects were added. Recently, the collection was further enriched with other important donations.

Since 2007, the Library adheres to the National Library System to catalogue its recent acquisitions. The collection can be consulted almost entirely on-line.


Ateneo Veneto is culture in moviment

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