The Capitular Library is one of the most important ecclesiastical libraries in the world. It already existed in the 5th century AD and it was a “Scriptorium” or a centre for the transcription of the texts annexed to the “Schola sacerdotum”, the Corporation of Canons of the Cathedral.
However, there we can find even older texts, such as the “Institutes of Gaius”, the only text about Roman law in the 2nd century AD and an edition of "De Civitate Dei" by Sant'Agostino. Thanks to Pacifico, the Archdeacon and a great lover of knowledge, in 1200, the library went through a prosperous period becoming a study, consulting and culture preservation centre. Distinguished personalities visited in the past, including Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca.
Then, things got worse when, in 1630, during the Plague that killed two-thirds of the population including the librarian, some precious manuscripts were lost, but in 1712 Scipione Maffei, with a meticulous work, retrieved them. However, they were not saved when Napoleon Bonaparte moved part of the collection to the National Library of Paris, when the flood of the Adige river in 1882 and the bombing of 1945 occurred.
Today, it still preserves an invaluable treasure with 1200 manuscripts, 245 incunabula, 2500 Cinquecentine, 2800 Seicentine, 11,000 parchments and over 70000 volumes.