Venice / Points of interest

Monumental Rooms of the Marciana National Library

Monumental Rooms of the Marciana National Library

St Mark's Square, Venice

The Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Marciana are two environments, which – together with the building of the Zecca, where there are offices and reading rooms – are a part of the National Library of St Mark’s in Venice.

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Bookable services

To access the areas included in the museum of the Marciana National Library in Venice, visits can be booked by purchasing The Museums of St. Mark's Square ticket, which allows you to also visit the Correr Museum, the Doge's Palace, the National Archaeological Museum of Venice, or by choosing the Museum Pass.

The National Library Marciana in Venice is located at the end of St. Mark's Square, overlooking the Piazzetta San Marco, in front of the elegant facade of the Doge’s Palace.

The National Library of St Mark's history began with the Doge Andrea Gritti who decreed the construction of a Public Library from a large donation of money from Cardinal Bessarion – who in 1468 had given the Serenissima many codes in Greek and Latin, and the offices of the Procurators of St Mark. The creator of this extraordinary project for the construction of the National Library of St Mark’s in Venice, Sansovino, never saw his work completed due to his death. However, the monumental rooms of Sanovino’s Library were completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi.

The Sansovino Biblioteca Marciana in Venice has two rows of loggias - the first with Doric arches and entablature alternating triglyphs and metopes, the second with Ionic character presenting a frieze with cherubs and garlands of flowers and fruits - crowned by a balustrade with corner obelisks and statues of classical deities.

The first nucleus of the National Library of St Mark's in Venice, Italy - the Vestibule and the hall of the Library – is now open to visitors via the itinerary for the Museums of St. Mark's Square.

The grand chambers of the Marciana National Library take one through to an impressive and richly decorated two-flight staircase - the iconography takes the perspective of the Neo-Platonic spiritual ascension process – which leads to the Vestibule. The decoration of the walls of the vestibule with niches, pilasters and pediments, was designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi. In the ceiling, inside a 'trompe-l'oil' producing an illusion of architectural depth, is housed Titian’s La Sapienza.

In this context, it is also possible to admire one of the only examples of the amazing bird's eye view of Jacopo de’Barbari, a splendid reproduction of the real shape of Venice.

From the Vestibule, through a stately door, you enter the Library room, designed specifically to accommodate the prestigious collection of Cardinal Bessarione.

This room has an exceptional iconography: the walls boast portraits of philosophers - the work of great artists such as Tintoretto and Veronese - evoking the atmosphere of the ancient library, while on the ceiling - called the manifesto of Mannerism in Venice - 21 tondos are represented with representations on the subject of active life and the use of specific knowledge contained in the library.

Monumental Rooms of the National Library of St Mark’s – Openings

  • From 1.04 to 31.10
    10am – 7pm (Entrance at the Correr Museum)
  • From 1.11 to 31.03
    10am – 5pm (Entrance at the Correr Museum)
  • Closed: 25.12, 1.01