The library of INAF-Astronomical Observatory of Rome
dates back to the first Astronomy studies of the Jesuits, starting from the sixteenth century.
Its collections run along five centuries and include over 8000 monographs and a thousand ancient and modern periodicals. Therefore, in the area of both Astronomy and History of Science, this library represents a rich source of information for both students and researchers.
The old section of the library, made of the collections of the Historical Observatories of the “Collegio Romano” and the “Campidoglio” in Rome, together with the books donated by the Polish historian Arthur Wolynski for the Astronomical and Copernican Museum in the month of June 1882, represents a unique treasure.
Indeed, we count over 4000 volumes: among other rare editions, there is a manuscript dating back to the fourteenth century, which gathers the main astronomical texts of that time, and can already be admired in the digital display case of this portal. This collection included 5 incunabula, over 270 sixteenth century editions and 450 seventeenth century editions. In particular, among various books of ancient Astronomy, there are remarkable
first editions of Copernicus’ works, Ptolemy’s Almagest, the Sphaera by
Sacrobosco, the Theatrum Cometarum by Hevel, Scheiner’s Rosa Ursina, as
well as Galileo’s works.
The historical-modern section, which little by little was moved to the main seat of the Astronomical Observatory of Rome, in Monteporzio Catone (south east of the city, in the area known as “Castelli Romani”), is constituted by an historical core (post 1830) of about 1000 volumes, a modern section of about 3000 specialist monographs, and a remarkable number of astronomical periodicals and publication
coming from the main Observatories of the whole world, partly bought and partly
exchanged. We should mention the fact that most of this section of the library
was moved years ago in a specially restored room under the dome, so as to
create a very charming and multifunctional space.