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Biblioteca Provinciale Cappuccini


via Bellinzona 6, 40136 Bologna. The library is situated within the San Giuseppe dei Cappuccini friary.


This is a library rooted in its local community and in the religious traditions of the Capucine Order in Bologna. Under the Order’s motto of ‘Humility’ its collections, united with the art in the adjoining museum, keep alive its spiritual contribution to the region.

The library was founded in 1818, on return of the Capucines after the Napoleonic suppression. At first it simply collected the books hidden or bought by the friars during the closure of the monasteries; over the years it was developed thanks to donations and acquisitions. It was seriously damaged by air raids in 1944; its aspect today is largely due to Fr. Gherardo Ferroni who reorganised it and made the wooden furnishing. Scholars and students, both of divinity and of more secular subjects, visit the Reading Room; the multimedia section is popular with younger friars and teachers. The documents and the books are essential to understand the presence and history of the Order in Bologna and beyond. Since 1990, the library takes part to the Organizzazione bibliotecaria regionale, following an agreement with the Soprintendenza.

Adjoining the library is the Museo San Giuseppe, with a collection of paintings of the Emilian school from the 14th to the 20th century and of sacred objects of various ages, originating from churches and monasteries in the region. The library focuses on religious studies but also includes reference material and general studies. The rare-book collection and the archive are particularly relevant. The memory of Mgr. G. A. Bussolari - archbishop, general minister of the Order, well-known scholar of canonical law - is still very close to the friars’ heart. The Reading Room is on two levels, with simple oak shelves and stairs and is decorated with an interesting 18th-century antipendium made of straw, depicting the Franciscan device with St. Francis’ arm joining the Lord’s; both the austerity of the room and the material used for the decoration are clear reminders of the Poverty vow.


View of the Reading Room

Bibbia. Vecchio Testamento. Salmi.

I sette salmi penitenziali imitati in rime da Agostino Agostini, et i sette salmi della Misericordia … co’l lor volgare di Panigarola.

In Cologna, secondo l’exemplare di Venetia, appresso Girolamo Porro, 1595 (1593).

Ill. 16° (imperfect copy)

(Photos: Riccardo Vlahov/IBACN)

The archive contains about 1,500 manuscripts from the 16th to the 20th century. The library includes 10 incunabula, 622 16th-century editions, 50,000 books and 7,000 pamphlets. Theology, philosophy, biblical studies, Franciscanism and local history are the strongest subjects. The collection also includes 1,200 musical records, 150 CDs, 400 videos, 182 current journals and newspapers, 203 discontinued.

Catalogues: card author catalogue up to 1990. From that year onward, author, title and subject both on the house LAN and card. Separate catalogues (card and/or machine readable) for incunabula, 16th-century editions and manuscripts.


Donato da S. Giovanni in Persiceto, Il quarto centenario dei frati minori cappuccini a Bologna (1554-1954), Budrio, Montanari Fratelli Editori, 1954.

Andrea Maggioli, La biblioteca provinciale dei cappuccini a Bologna, in: Biblioteche Cappuccine Italiane. Atti del Convegno Nazionale tenuto in Assisi, 14-16 ottobre 1987, a cura di A. Maggioli, Perugia, Biblioteca Oasis, 1988.

Celso Mariani, Il Museo San Giuseppe, Bologna, Luigi Parma, 1975.

Opening hours

Tuesdays 8.30 - 12.30 a.m.; Wednesdays 8.30 - 12.30 a.m., 2.30 - 6.30 p.m.
Thursdays and Fridays 2.30 - 6.30 p.m. The Museum is open on Fridays 10.00 - 12.00 a.m.
Guided tours by arrangement with the librarian.

Further Information

Contact person: Fr. Andrea Maggioli.
Telephone: 00 39 051 6446406
Fax: 00 39 051 6447152
E-mail: bbl.capp@iperbole.bologna.it

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