Bergamo’s beautiful Civic Library (Biblioteca Civica Angelo Mai), in Piazza Vecchia in the upper town, is one of only a few places to be graced by a finely-crafted globe of the world made by Vincenzo Coronelli.
|The elegant Biblioteca Civica Angelo Mai
in Piazza Vecchia
The Franciscan friar, who was also a celebrated cartographer and globe maker, was born on this day in 1650 in Venice.
He became famous for making terrestrial and celestial globes for the Duke of Parma and Louis XIV of France.
This started a demand for globes from other aristocratic clients to adorn their libraries and a few of Coronelli’s creations are still in existence today in private collections.
Coronelli was the fifth child of a Venetian tailor and was accepted as a novice by the Franciscans when he was 15.
He was later sent to a college in Rome where he studied theology and astronomy.
He began working as a geographer and was commissioned to produce a set of globes for Ranuccio II Farnese, the Duke of Parma. Each finely crafted globe was five feet in diameter.
After one of Louis XIV’s advisers saw the globes, Coronelli was invited to Paris to make a pair of globes for the French King.
The large globes displayed the latest information that had been obtained by French explorers in north America. They are now in the Francois Mitterand national library in Paris.
Coronelli died at the age of 68 in Venice having created hundreds of maps and some precious hand-made globes during his lifetime.
Original globes made by Coronelli can be seen in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice and the Angelo Mai Civic library in Bergamo.
|The globes in the library, photographed by Visit Bergamo
The Civic Library (Biblioteca Civica) Angelo Mai, where Coronelli’s globes are displayed, is at the centre of Bergamo’s upper town. Also referred to as Palazzo Nuovo, the library was founded in 1768 and houses more than 700,000 books, original manuscripts and scrolls.
It is believed that the two Coronelli globes came to Bergamo in 1692 after being purchased in Venice for the library of the Sant’Agostino monastery.
In 1797 when the monastery was suppressed the globes were in danger of being seized by French troops but they were hidden by a Bergamo nobleman in his home and later donated to the Civic Library by his son.