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Travel Talk

Local hosts share their insights

Reading Room of Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana

The library was opened to the public in 1571. The collection itself – put together by the Medici family - predates, however, this date.

As you enter the reading room, with its two series of wooden benches, you should keep in mind that, in those times, the manuscripts and printed books were fixed by chains to the benches, which functioned both as lecterns and bookshelves.

The benches, known as plutei in Latin, are numbered. There are 88 benches. Attached to the side of each bench you will find a wooden panel, a kind of table of contents, stating the subject matter of the items originally chained to this desk (e.g. Patristics, Rhetoric, or History) and listing the authors, titles, size and date. One of these wooden panels even mentions one of the works written by Brunetto Latini.

Learn more about Biblioteca Medicea, Brunetto Latini, and Medieval Florence with David Napolitano and his FREE tour on the GlobeTrott Travel app.

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