Return to splendour

Vatican library reopens after three-year restoration

Editorial Staff
September 23, 2010

Over 150,000 manuscripts, one million books, among them 8,400 incunabulum, and hundreds of coins, medals, prints and incisions are again on public display following three years of massive restoration.


The sixteenth-century building that holds the Vatican Library, the collection first established by Pope Sisto IV in 1475, was closed for renovations in 2007 to install a modern air-conditioning system, needed to better preserve older volumes, to consolidate load-bearing walls and install up-to-date security measures.


The new library even has an 800-square-meter underground concrete bunker, where the most precious manuscripts are kept. ‘It's nuke-proof,' joked Sever Voicu, curator of Greek manuscripts at the library.


Among the many priceless items, the collection includes a unique bible, one of the world's most precious, decorated with 1.5 kilos of gold.

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