In Macerata, despite the presence of rich private collections which often denoted open- mindedness, in the 17th century the collection of the mathematician Girolamo Marchetti, consisting of works by the Urbino School, of the scholar Marcantonio Amici, of the Compagnoni, of the bishop Mario Marefoschi, of the Lazzarini and Bonaccorsi families, was given much attention.
The first documented bequeathals of books date back to Napoleon’s suppression of religious houses. Therefore the municipality of Macerata decided to found a public library ( 1703) with the library collection of the suppressed Compagnia del Gesù, with the help of Bishop Compagnoni Marefoschi and the financial help of Pope Pious VI and Bishop Guglielmo Pallotta.
Then in 1779 other donations followed, i.e. the donation by the Rota judge Francesco Mornati and by Giuseppe and Bartolomeo Mozzi, after which the library was named together with the Dominican friar Pietro Borgetti who imitated the Mozzi brothers and gave his important library as well as his whole patrimony.
The not too wide library of the Mozzi brothers is an authentic jewel. At present it’s one of the greatest libraries in the Marche. It consists of about 350,000 books, more than 10,000 manuscripts, 300 incunabula and more than 4,000 editions dating back to the 16th century .
It‘s also made up of music and theatre collections, a collection of the Risorgimento and a vast visual collection with more than 20,000 images documenting local history ( events, people, urban layout, monuments, traditions, works of art). All ancient collections are catalogued and accessible to all.
The library was made unique and decisively modern by Giuseppe Mozzi, as he was culturally open to the experiences of European enlightened people.
Giusepep Mozzi, born into a noble family and provided with family fortunes, studied in Bologna and Rome and he could deepen his scientific interests through several travels abroad. He bought instruments and books relating his interest for scientific research. Very fond of science, he shared the same ideals as French scholars whose main interest were sciences, techniques and thought reform.
Much part of the large science sector is specialized in medicine. In his collection there are the main authors of the new practical and experimental approach of modern medicine: William Harvey (Opera omnia, Londini, printed in 1776 and previous editions of single works), Tomas Sydenam (Opera universa, Londini, 1705), Simon André Tissot (Epistolae medicae practicae, Lausanne 1770), Hermann Boherave (all botanical medicine works and Elementa chemiae, Lugduni, Patav. 1732), Albrecht von Haller,the founder of modern physiology.
Despite his prevailing interest for medicine, he was also interested in other fields of knowledge. No sector is neglected, so his library is an example of organic collection as the Baconian method tought: natural sciences integrate into physical and mathematical sciences. He therefore also had a keen experimental interest.
Beside the Mozzi collection the library also comprises textbooks and documents of great local interest due to some bequethals of some families who adhering to local cultural traditions owned qualified and often top- quality collections.
For example, the copious letters of the historian Luigi Lanzi to Italian and foreign scholars: Amico Ricci’s personal library and relative reasoned catalogue which reflects his value as art historian, relentless researcher of art in the Marche, as well as a great book lover; the copious collection of manuscripts, music and theatre publications due to the donations of Giuseppe Natali (1879), Gian Battista Bruti Liberati (1868) and of other illustrious scholars in this topic. It’s probably one of the largest and most organic collection of this type in the Marche, after that belonging to the Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro.
During the 200 years of activity the library has progressively become larger, as it occupies new rooms and depots in the different floors of the building.
At the entrance from Piazza Vittorio Veneto you can see marvelous busts of Benedetto Cairoli, Ercole Rosa and Pope Gregorio XVI by Fedele Bianchini. Many coats of arms made of stone come from the ancient Fonte Maggiore. The sarcophagus with a wavy and undulating surface which is in the hall and the big Roman vase of Republican age which is at the entrance of the Castiglioni Room come from the archaeological collections of the local Civic Museum. In the Galleria Traversa (also called Mirror Room) Domenico Marzapani and Domenico Cervini created some grotesques in Raphael’s style and portraits of distinguished scientists and philosophers in Pompeian style. The ceilings divided into quarters are by the painter from Macerata Vincenzo Martini.