A tour of the most beautiful libraries in Milan

Milano is UNESCO City of Literature also thanks to its historical tradition of libraries

Public municipal libraries are 24 in total, they are placed in each district all around the city and they promote free access to knowledge and information. Basically, each neighbourhood of the city has its own library and they build a system allowing to search, book online and withdraw books and dvds from each of the libraries. The aim is to promote free access to knowledge and information. All of them realize a dense network where you can find and reserve books and movies. All libraries develop specific projects concerning literature and reading, stimulating participation, boosting dialogue among citizens, in order to promote interaction with the territory and local associations. They also consolidate the sense of belonging to communities. In addition, pubblic libraries organise free classes, seminars, meetings (for example art laboratories, classes aimed at people over 60  regarding how to use smartphones and pcs and meetings with authors conferences on local history and reading workshops) as well as activities for kids and teenagers. Icing on the cake the librarians, constantly cultured and motivated, who kindly respond to all visitors' requests, from Danielle Steel’s last novel (provided it’s not overbooked already!) to the last kid’s horror novel..

During summer exams, the best libraries to choose are those located in cozy green spaces - for example the Affori Library, located on the first floor of the Villa Litta Modignani, or the Parco Sempione Library, where it is possible to sit down at the tables in the open air.

The queen of Milan’s municipal libraries is the Sormani Library. This historical building in the city centre contains about a million books  and it has wide and crowded study halls, a complete collection of newspapers and magazines from all over the world, and extremely rare media footage. There is also a nice garden sometimes used for conferences and literary marathons. Moreover, the Sormani Library is involved in an exchange of volumes and magazines from all over the world.

In 2013, the City Hall inaugurated the first Resident Library set in via Rembrandt  - establishing a dialogue among the Lorenteggio district inhabitants and the whole city. 

But there are beautiful libraries outside the municipal library circuit as well.

Let’s discover them!

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

Piazza Pio XI, 2

From the city centre, it is possible to reach the beautiful Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, commissioned by Archbishop Federigo Borromeo and inaugurated on December 8th 1609.

It was one of the first libraries with free access for those who could read and write. The building is in baroque style, with a rectangular yard which seems to be guarded by statues of ancient scholars placed along the sides. Today the library hosts extremely rare books and very ancient manuscripts. It provides the perfect location for conferences or unique events - such as big dance events in 19th-Century costumes

Biblioteca del Capitolo Metropolitano di Milano

Piazza del Duomo, 16

Milan’s most ancient libray has been well hidden inside the residence of the Canonici del Duomo, that is the order governing the Duomo of Milan since 1635. It is called "Capitolare" and it was built in Medieval times. All textbooks in the library form  are ) a treasure for history researchers. 

Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense

Via Brera, 28

The Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense is a public library set inside the building of the same name, together with the Pinacoteca and and the Accademia. The Sala Maria Teresa, the Sala di Lettura Braidense and the Sala dei Cataloghi are the most beautiful halls to visit, especially when there are exhibitions.It was inaugurated around the year 1700 and  being a library of national relevance for two centuries, everything that is published in the Milan area is catalogued and stored there.

Biblioteca del Policlinico Ca’ Granda di Milano

Via Francesco Sforza, 28

The Biblioteca del Policlinico Ca’ Granda di Milano holds the biggest numberr of scientific books, on medicine in particular. From consultation to publications, the library is true research pole where it is possible to deepen your knowledge on medical history. In 2016, the library opened its doors to the citizens and thanks to its 3 kilometers of shelves it actually is one of the biggest scientific libraries in Europe.