This time I had a look at the Biblioteca Estense in Modena – only the normal tourist bit, I didn’t get a special look round.
As all the guide books will tell you, the library contains the famous manuscript bible of Borso d’Este, which is indeed beautiful, but somehow MSS just don’t do it for me – I like early printed books, of which obviously they have a fine collection including some printed by Aldus Manutius.On dispay are also some maps from the library’s cartographic collection, including a fine portolan. (NB There are lots of portolans in Barcelona’s Maritime Museum). Imagine my disappointment when I found that 2 of the half dozen or so display cases were filled with examples of facsimiles – not from their collection, which would have been fair enough, but from e.g. the Vatican Library.
I also met my good friends, and helpers with my article in the Cilip Rare Books Group newsletter, Barbara Lepidio (a librarian at the university of Verona) and Monia di Cosimo, Corinaldo’s communal librarian. Barbara knows Mauro Mei, the doyen of antiquarian and rare book librarianship in the Marche, and has offered to introduce me to him which would indeed be a privilege.