Address: Viale Otranto, 67
The Congregation of the Nuns Marcelline, inspired by S. Marcellina, nun and educator of the brothers Satiro e Ambrogio, the first bishop of Milan, was founded in Cernusco sul Naviglio (Milan) in 1838 by Luigi Biraghi, spiritual director of the Major Seminary in Milan, assisted in his work by Marina Videmari. The new community of nuns, officially approved by the Archbishop of Milan in 1852, obtained the pontifical recognition in 1899.
In a few years the first foundation was soon followed by others in Lombardia (in Vimercate in 1841, in Milan in Via Quadronno in 1854 and in Via Amedei in 1858), in Liguria (Genoa in 1868) and in France (Chambéry in 1875). The Seat of Lecce was the first to be established in central and southern Italy, thanks to Gaetano Tanzarella, provincial councilor, Gaetano Brunetti Chairman of the consortium Committee of the Province and the Municipality of Lecce, and Sigismondo Castromediano, provincial deputy, then promoters of a revival of female education
In 1882 the nuns arrived in Lecce to direct the Boarding School Vittorio Emanuele II, located in the building of the "Angiolille" (now Palazzo Carafa). Following an increase in enrollments they moved to the present seat in Viale Otranto, finished to be building and designed by the architect Filippo Bacile in 1893. After a short period in San Cesario, following the seizure of the property in 1916 for the war, when it was transformed into a camp hospital, they returned in Viale Otranto, where they still continue their activity of education and training of young people.
Mrs. Lorella Ingrosso is currently responsible for the library, set up by donations and bequests from 1882 and opened to the public in 2000, after four years of inventorying and cataloging work of the modern collections.
In the old original holdings, consisting of 329 volumes, published between 1490 and 1830, there are 3 incunabula, 11 sixteenth century books, 24 seventeenth century books, 251 eighteen century books and 37 nineteenth century texts.
Together with theological religious works that constitute the majority of the editions, there are also legal texts, such as the Corpus Juris Civilis and the Corpus Iuris Canonici, or scientific books, as Libro di aritmetica e geometria e delle misure e de’ territori e fabriche by Giorgio La Pazzaia or the Institutione analyticae earumque usus in geometria by Paolino da S. Giuseppe Luciensi. We can also find the works by classical authors such as Horace's Comentari, published in 1492, or the Elegiarum libri quatuor by Tibullus.
The assets of the library has been constituted over time thanks to donations made by ecclesiastical canons as the Arcangelo and Vito Valenti Guerrieri, by lay people, such as Eugenio Bonavoglia, and monasteries, such as the one of the Holy Spirit of Francavilla and of Capuchins of Brindisi .
Between 2006 and 2007, the library was enriched by a new collections consisting in one hundred twenty-four works, for a total of five hundred volumes, thanks to the donation of the Marcelline Institute of Milan, via Quadronno. The corpus of works comes from individuals as Pierluigi Canziani, who donated about 70 books, Andrea Turco, Vincenzo Armando, but also from the library of the Economic Society of Chiavari. The new fund includes a sixteenth century book, 56 eighteen century books, 443 nineteenth century books. Together with Latin classic authors, such as Livio, Cicero, Ovid, Seneca, Tacitus, there are also works by Italian authors such as Pietro Bembo, Paolo Paruta, Andrea Morosini. Among the works of the nineteenth century we find Manzoni’s Selected Works, published in Florence in 1832, which includes the version of I Promessi Sposi, before the final draft of 1841.
In summer 2011, the donation of the library collection belonging to the Marcelline Institute of Foggia, consisting in about 141 volumes, dating bag from 1600 to 1831, already inventoried and to be cataloged, has further increased the library asset. Texts of law, medicine, physics alongside the Latin classics such as Tacitus, Livio, Caesar, Cicero Tibullus, just to name a few.