Domenica, 24 Novembre 2019 02:56

Casa del Libro Antico - House of the Ancient Book

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As in a real home, in the House of the Ancient Book "live" unique and valuable pages of local and national history.

A precious treasure dating back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, coming from various Italian and European centers, these books survived to natural disasters and human vicissitudes.

There are about 2500 volumes. A collection of works of theology, philosophy, ecclesiastical history and exegesis, homiletic and hagiographic collections. The writings of the amanuensis stand out, elegant and without smudges, which characterize the medieval manuscripts, Greek and Latin fragments of the eleventh and fourteenth-fifteenth centuries. In addition to the manuscripts, there are prints, called cinquecentine, embellished with woodcuts produced by the most illustrious printers in the world. An added value is precisely the exclusivity of these copies and their importance from the historical point of view. The woodcuts are drawings that recounted historical or biographical episodes with the help of captions. Among the most prestigious volumes there are two incunabula dated 1487 and 1495, which have the peculiarity of containing the postillas of the young Tommaso Campanella. During his study hours he used to write down his observations on the texts he read, almost as if he could talk to the authors.

Among those masterpieces, there are also texts considered "forbidden". During the Inquisition many religious and philosophical works were considered heretical and banned from circulation. In the House of the Ancient Book there is a 1711 edition of the index of prohibited books: Index librorum prohibitorum. There are also letters and parchments containing messages not visible to the naked eye. To escape the control of the Inquisition, in fact, they wrote a "subtext" hidden by the main one, which was instead clearly visible. Thus, information was disseminated in a secure way. Today, at the House of the Ancient Book, it is possible to see these fabulous heretical contents with the help of Wood's lamp, an instrument that, by emitting ultraviolet light, succeeds in revealing every trace of admirably hidden writing. There are Le metamorfosi di Ovidio (Ovid's Metamorphoses), whose Venetian edition of 1536 was defaced by censorship ink on entire pages: already, a forbidden book, survived the censorship of the time.

As evidence of the importance that singing had in the office for the Dominican friars, there are also 17th century liturgical books with an evocative red and black print of the text and accompanying music. To the patrimony are added a completely restored celestial globe dating back to 1695 and an unrestored terrestrial globe dating back to 1744.

The Library houses some of the events of the Lamezia Festival Trame and the Festival of books on the mafias, a literary event held in the city since 2011 in June and on an annual basis.

Let yourself be fascinated by the pages that have told who we were and who we would become, visit the House of the Ancient Book.


 The House of the Ancient Book is less than half an hour from the Hotel Paradiso.


 Opening hours to the public:


morning from Monday to Friday from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.


Afternoon: Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.


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