A bright new chapter on Tuscany’s literary scene, the Biblioteca della Toscana is perfectly placed for commuters close to Santa Maria Novella station.
Opened in November 2016, the library’s kilometre of books and 200 periodicals merge collections from three libraries belonging to the Tuscan Region: Biblioteca del Consiglio, Bibiloteca della Giunta Regionale and Biblioteca dell’Identità Toscana. While Florence’s new kid on the book block largely upholds its regional identity with its shelves loaded with legal texts, tour guides and Tuscany lovers are increasingly drawn to the luminous space thanks to a green-labelled miscellany of guidebooks and historical works in a kaleidoscope of languages. (While rummaging through the stacks we came across a titillating paperback, flaunting a psychedelic David on the cover, titled When in Florence. The guidebook that Florentines buy.)
Walking into Palazzo Cerretani, off piazza dell’Unità Italiana, do not be deterred by the somewhat utilitarian reception, burdened by the usual bumbledom. Once you have deposited your documento and been granted free access to the inner sanctum, the librarians are the peak of professionalism. Smiling, the bibliotecari are resourceful individuals, competent and capable of tracking down even the most elusive titles and navigating their way through Italy’s ever more digitalized catalogues and archives.
Plus, the library is strikingly beautiful: if your gaze wanders while you’re studying, it’s probably because you’re wondering about the 19th-century frescoes in the Sala di Psiche or the medieval brick wall, a visible testimony to the archaeological artefacts that were unearthed during the renovations undertaken to open the library.
Biblioteca della Toscana Pietro Leopoldo
piazza dell’Unità Italiana 1, Florence
Open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm
Tel. +39 055 2387799