I have a thing for libraries. Ever since I was little, spending an afternoon reading in a library has been my idea of a good time. I didn’t know how much I missed the smell of old books and the hushed silence until I made my way to my first library in Rome, Biblioteca Angelica. Located in the heart of Rome next door to Piazza Navona, this magical library gives you all the Harry Potter feels, with rows of study desks, walls lined with old tomes and wooden ladders that the libraries scuttle up and down grabbing books. As it’s reminiscent of both Disney (Beauty and the Beast) and Harry Potter films, I would highly suggest you check it out if you’re in the market for library in Rome with some history, a great study atmosphere and a place where you can get your reading on.
We saw multiple tours going in and out of the library. If you just want to take a peek (or a picture) inside, you can also ask to enter as a tourist. The best way to experience the library, however, is to fill out a library card, lock your bag up in the cubby outside and head in to choose a work space for yourself. Bring a laptop or books to make yourself look like a serious student and get to it. I sneakily just read a fiction book on my kindle while all the people around me were furiously highlighting hundred-page documents or typing obscure notes into Excel files.
On your frequent “study” breaks, you can people watch, stare at the intricate wood molding/gorgeous carpets or head outside to grab a coffee. My favorite thing in the hour or so that I was there was to
stalk watch the librarians grab books from the highest levels of the library. They climbed up ladders and literally walked along the shelves to get hundred-year-old books, using an analog system to mark that it was in use. All of the higher levels have secret doors painted with bookshelves to allow for people coming and going. Basically it’s my dream job and I WILL find a way to make it happen.
I hope this rather basic information on how to visit a library is helpful, though much of it is turning out to be common sense. This library and many others in Rome, I’m sure, are worth a visit if you’re a book lover or just really really like old stuff.
More information about the library can be found here. During busy study hours, you may need to reserve a desk by calling +39 06 6840801
M, F, S 8:30-1:45 ; T, W, Th 8:30-6:50
Piazza di Sant'Agostino, 8, Roma