International museum and
library of music of Bologna

Museum / The collections / Library collection

The collection inherited from Padre Martini constitutes one of the most prestigious collections of music repertory printed between the 1500's and 1700's because of its incunabula, valuable manuscripts, opera libretti, and also for the unique collection of autographs and letters, which are the result of the correspondence Martini painstakingly kept with eminent people, scholars, and musicians of that time.

Saved from the Napoleonic confiscations due to the intervention of Stanislao Mattei, Martini's disciple and successor, the valuable bibliographic patrimony was donated to the Liceo musicale di Bologna in 1816. The Liceo had been founded in 1804 at the ex-convent of the Agostinians in the church of San Giacomo Maggiore. The library increased considerably throughout the 1800's and the first half of the 1900's, thanks to the amount of materials produced from the didactic activity of the Liceo (famous students of the Liceo included Rossini, Donizetti, and Respighi while directors included Mancinelli, Martucci, and Busoni). The library also increased because of the valuable items and rare volumes that were acquired by Gaetano Gaspari, who was nominated librarian in 1855.

Gaspari directed the library for many years with a unique zeal and knowledge, and, after many years of hard work and constant effort, he was able to organize and card-catalogue all the library material in an excellent way (and from this came the posthumous publication the Library Catalogue of the Liceo Musicale di Bologna which bears his name and is now also available online).

In 1942, when the Liceo musicale was transformed into a state institution - Regio Conservatorio di Musica - the Comune di Bologna chose to maintain ownership of Padre Martini's bibliographic patrimony and the attached picture gallery. The Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale was founded in 1959 in order to conserve and make the most of the bibliographic patrimony and the portrait gallery.

In 2004, the Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale was re-named Museo internazionale e bilioteca della musica with the inauguration of the museum's location in Palazzo Sanguinetti in the historical center of Bologna. The institute was sub-divided in two sites: a large selection of volumes, paintings, and musical instrumentswas exhibited in the museum rooms of Strada Maggiore 34 (Palazzo Sanguinetti) while the majority of the bibliographic material was available to view at Piazza Rossini 2 (the ex- Convent of San Giacomo) in rooms connected to the G.B. Martini Conservatory of Music.

In 2014 all the bibliographic material was totally moved to Palazzo Sanguinetti.