Cortona Guide (

CORTONA Museums and galleries - Accademia Etrusca and Council Library

The founding and development of the Biblioteca del Comune e dell'Accademia Etrusca di Cortona goes hand in hand with that of the Accademia Etrusca itself. Founded in 1726 thanks to a number of local academics, the Accademia Etrusca was intended to "spread culture through the acquisition of books of erudition and science”. In1727 the Accademia gained official recognition from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and a convention with the town council was drawn up with the seat of the Accademia in Palazzo Casali.

Over the following years a number of internationally renowned intellectuals became members of the Accademia, including Charles Montesquieu, Voltaire, Johann J. Winckelmann, Antonio Muratori, Scipione Maffei. With the founding of the museum and the publication of a number of works of considerable historical interest, the Accademia extended its activities to a number of sectors, even running a periodical named Polimnia. Currently the Accademia publishes an Annuario.

The council library, meanwhile, had also developed considerably, both thanks to private donations and to acquisitions of Church manuscripts following the laws imposed by Napoleon. Some of these manuscripts are of inestimable value, such as the Laudario Cortonese (13th century), or the early 14th century manuscript of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Currently, the Bibioteca’s collection is as follows:

membrane manuscripts 128
paper manuscripts 578
incunabula 118
loose parchments 756
16th century editions 1.047
17th – 18th century editions 9.652
18th century German university theses 8.000
19th – 20th century donations 35.676
local history volumes 6.000
current history volumes; 16.000
periodicals 310

Most of the material in the Biblioteca is catalogue and accessible on CDS/ISIS.

The library’s opening hours are every day except Saturdays from 9am to 12 noon and from 3 to 6.45pm. The library remains closed from August 1st to 15th.

The manuscripts of the Biblioteca are accessible entirely on microfilm and available to the public. There are restrictions on consulting the original manuscripts, however, and permission must be obtained beforehand. Rare or particularly valuable material also has consultation restrictions. No restrictions are imposed on the library’s contemporary material, however, and the public is free to borrow this material or arrange for an inter-library loan. The Biblioteca is able to provide a microfilming service on request.

Biblioteca del Comune e dell'Accademia Etrusca
Palazzo Casali 52044 Cortona - Tel. 0575 637236 Fax 0575 6047444
Website: email:

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