The Aprosiana of Ventimiglia

The treasure of the first public library of Liguria

Almost 7,000 volumes ranging from 150 incunabula to books of the Sixth and Seventh centuries: this is the precious heritage of the Aprosiana Civic Library of Ventimiglia, a treasure preserved over centuries and that is shining again today in all its uniqueness after recent restorations. Born in the Augustinian convent, the Library now has two locations: the modern collection is housed in the premises of the original cloister of Sant’Agostino, while the ancient and part of the modern collections are kept at the building in Via Garibaldi in Ventimiglia Alta. Here is the great collection of books inaugurated by Friar Angelico Aprosio in 1648, the most ancient public library in Liguria. A visionary and ambitious project that reflects an extraordinary figure: a passionate bibliophile, Aprosio was a man from Ventimiglia who had relations and relationships throughout Europe, as evidenced by the epistolary collections involving him, as many as 47 volumes dating from 1630 to 1680.

The project of his ideal library, made of shelves and enriched with paintings, is described in “The Aprosiana Library” text, preserved today as part of the ancient collection. The first of four volumes never published before, the book was printed in Bologna in 1673 with the intention of supporting the public vocation of the library becoming a well-known catalogue at a national level. It is the story of the library and of its books, including the many donors who have allowed Aprosio to set up a heterogeneous collection made of ten thousand ancient and contemporary volumes in Latin and Greek, but also in Italian, French, and Spanish. Among the many friends with whom the friar exchanged letters or were donors he encountered were Gian Domenico Cassini, whose portrait stands out today as part of the collection’s nine surviving paintings that consisted of about thirty faces in the past.

In addition to the text by Aprosio, the library preserves a Bible dated 1480 and several incunabula, precious printed volumes dating back to the second half of the Fifteenth century.

[Alessandra Chiappori]


Since the beginning of September 2017, the Market and Competition Law came into force (Law No. 124/2017), definitively approved by the Chambers before the summer break.

Among the various provisions, the modification of Article 108 of the Code of the Cultural and Landscape Heritage (Legislative Decree 42/2004), which allows archive and library users to freely take pictures with their own cameras, smartphones or other means, excluding however the direct contact with the documents, e.g. scanners, and without the use of flash and tripods. To date, in fact, a written, precautionary authorization was required, with the indication of the book, pages, number of pictures, and a cost had to be paid.

The pictures you see in this article are a simple example of what is now possible.

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