"Innocenziana" Archdiocese Library - Lecce

Address: Piazza Duomo, 5
Postal code73100
City: Lecce
Province: Lecce
Phone: 0832 333522
Fax: 0832 244761
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: www.issrlecce.org/la-biblioteca


The library of the Archdiocese of Lecce, dedicated in 1927 by Bishop Gennaro Trama (1902-1927) to Pope Innocent XII (1691-1700), born Antonio Pignatelli, bishop of Lecce from 1671 to 1682, is located in the Palazzo del Seminario, built between 1694 and 1709 and designed by the architect Giuseppe Cino, one of the exponents of the baroque season in Salento.

The erection of the Seminary complied with the dictates of the Council Fathers, that at the meeting of July 15, 1565 had established the creation of a library in each diocese, with the aim of educating and training new clergy. One hundred and forty years, however, passed, to see the first stone of the new building laid down. Financial problems, antagonism between religious orders, political opportunities were among the causes of this delay. The building is linked to other members of Pignatelli family: Michele and Fabrizio. Promoter of the Tridentine reform in the diocese of Lecce, Michele Pignatelli, bishop of Lecce from 1682 to 1695, worked in the construction of the Seminary personally and succeeded in carry out the enterprise attempted by some of his predecessors. Thanks  to the direct testimony of the Cino, the 'architect builder’, it is known the beginning and end of the work.

The disciple of Zimbalo, in fact, in his Memoirs communicates that « On 27 March 1694, being Mayor Fulgenzio Minioti, it was started the demolition of the shops in the courtyard of the Bishopric, to build the new Seminary, being Bishop Michael D. Pignatelli, the architect was Giuseppe Cino […] On Wednesday, April 14, the aforementioned bishop laid the first stone in front of a large crowd of citizens and faithful.

The start of the seminary construction was also celebrated by the ringing of the bells.». Michele Pignatelli died November 30, 1695 devising by will the bequest of  "200 ducats to continue the building of the Seminary”. 

The work was completed by Fabrizio Pignatelli, who inaugurated the seminar September 1, 1709.

Scholars do not agree on the period of establishment of the library. In fact, if Antonio Caterino connects the institution of the Library with the activity of  Episcopal printing house of Tommaso Mazzei, over a period between 1706 and 1730, according to Raffaele Fiorillo it should, however, be linked to the beginning of  the episcopate of Michele Pignatelli (1682) and 1734.

More likely, Oronzo Mazzotta places the origins between the end of seventeenth century and 1733, when it was drawn up the will of the bishop Fabrizio Pignatelli (1696-1734), where the bishop ordered the legacy of its collection of books and 200 ducats to the Seminar .

Then there were several donations, such as the ones of Bishop Salvatore Zola (1877-1891),  of the physician of Nardo, Francesco Giuliani, who died in 1821, of the Archdeacon Vincenzo Quarta. After 1809, the library was enriched by the collections of suppressed convents of the Dominicans of St. Giovanni d’ Aymo, of the one of the Annunciazione, of the Discalced Augustinians and Capuchins in Rugge.

The old collection of the library consists of about 5000 volumes, with incunabula, over two hundred sixteenth-century books, many editions dating back to  seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Most of the works printed between 1500 and 1700 concern church and ecclesiastical subjects and includes texts of theology, philosophy, patristic hagiography, asceticism. However, there are plenty of classic Italian and Latin books and  works on mathematics, medicine, astronomy, law.

Among the works, the volumes of the Annales ecclesiastici by Cesare Baronio, in the editions of 1692 and 1705, from the monastery of St. John of Aymo, deserve to be mentioned. Also worth of mention it is the second Italian edition of the Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné eg sciences, des arts et des métieres by M. M. Diderot and D'Alembert, printed by O. Diodati –Lucca, by Vincenzo Giuntini between 1758 and 1767. The volumes of the Encyclopédie, as some texts by Galilei, have been restored in these years thanks to C.E.I. contributions 

Opened to the public on 9 January 1961, the Innocenziana Library, was declared by the regional government "of local interest, on December 12, 1983."

After the first inventory drawn up in 1927 by the librarian Don Guglielmo Paladini, a work of inventorying, cataloging and reorganization was realized in 1979, under the supervision of the Bari National Library. Recently, the modern collection has been included in the OPAC of the National Library Service, so it is possible to view the catalog online. The library now consists of about 40,000 texts, including files and the ancient collection.

Mrs. Lorella Ingrosso is currently the head of the library.



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