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“You must visit this place!”

Biblioteca Malatestiana
Ranked #1 of 96 things to do in Cesena
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed August 16, 2016

A history spanning over 550 years, in the continuity of the place, around the original heritage, under the control and care of the same municipal authorities make the Malatesta a unique library of Cesena.

Thank Serena S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"tour guide"
in 2 reviews
"library hall"
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"great place"
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"books"
in 10 reviews
"world"
in 8 reviews
"libraries"
in 5 reviews
"europe"
in 5 reviews
"desks"
in 3 reviews
"unesco"
in 3 reviews
"manuscripts"
in 3 reviews
"history"
in 7 reviews
"entrance"
in 3 reviews
"malatesta"
in 4 reviews
"doors"
in 2 reviews
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11 - 15 of 585 reviews

Reviewed May 21, 2016

If you are a history geek and/or book nerd, this place is somewhere you must visit if you are anywhere near Cesena! The oldest public library in the world will not disappoint! Entrance to the library is free, but to see the original area, which is gated off, is 5 euros for a ticket. Definitely worth it, in my opinion.

There was a school tour going on just as we got there, so we had to wait a bit until they were done, but there was plenty to see in the hallway and time passed quickly. Once we finally got to enter, we were in a small group, just us and three older women. The tour guide gave us a nice explanation of the library, it's origin, etc. He spoke in Italian, so if you don't speak Italian, I'm not sure what they would do. I speak quite a bit of Italian, but what I didn't understand, my friend helped with filling me in.

The original structure with original two-key entry wooden doors was so incredible to experience. The guide explained that before there was a building next to it, the natural lighting would light up the reading room really well. The original books, chained to the original reading desks was just incredible to witness. You aren't able to walk far into it or sit on the wooden benches, but that was ok with me. It was simply incredible. Walking out of the original library, straight across, they have a fantastic collection of original manuscripts dating from the 1400's that were owned by the popes that came from Cesena. There are several opened books under glass that you can stare at (which we did). To see the hand written books was an incredible experience. My friend and I perused that room for quite awhile as the tour guide chatted with the others who had come into the room, explaining various things.

Highly recommend this tour if you are in the area and love old books as much as I do.

Thank Amy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 24, 2016

A couple of things I wish I would have known before coming here:
1) It is on the 2nd flr of the current, modern Public Library
2) You can only just walk in the door; the reading desks and essentially the library itself is roped off
3) The "guide" is just the guy that opens the gate and the door and plays the "history" off his phone in whatever language you request

That being said, even though I was a bit disappointed in experiencing the library itself, it was still a major book/history nerd moment to even be there. To see the old reading alters with the manuscripts still attached with the original chains and the two keyed door that was also part of the original library, still standing just as they 550+yrs before; it was actually surreal to process. And the fact that I had it all to myself, (I lucked out as it was just me and the guide) made it all the more special!

There is a large room adjacent to the library hall where some of the previous popes' personal collections as well as manuscripts from the early 1400s-1600s and old medical, botany, and other scientific books from the 15th century on, are encased. You can also walk around the enclosed bookcases and see some of the old books throughout the collection, which is extremely impressive!

For me, however, the smell was the most intoxicating part of the whole experience. The smell in the ancient reading hall, and the smell in the book museum. That old, earthy blend of vellum, antique inks, and timeworn leathers was ethereal and well worth the 5 euro price of admission!

I had specifically come to Cesena to visit this library and was only there for just over 2hrs as a detour on my way to Rome from Venice; it took me longer to travel there than time spent! But, it was so worth the visit to experience such a venerable and only humanistic-conventual link to the past. That, in and of itself, was worth the effort!

Tip: Unless you are part of a pre-scheduled tour group, you will need to purchase a ticket and request a guide from one of the receptionists in the unmarked office behind the wood door immediately to your right as you come up the stairs to the second floor.

3  Thank Leila R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 14, 2015

The oldest public library in the world. Well worth a visit. One absolutely must see the old reading room.

Thank Don H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed May 18, 2015

this is one of the most ancient and furnished library in italy. here you can definitely find everything you need. amazing

4  Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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