Many of the 326 libraries in the Marche are housed in historic buildings that have facilitated the architectural, artistic and decorative evolution of the city. Almost all of them are the result of gifts from local ancient aristocratic and merchant families or are important private libraries built up by clergymen, religious and professional orders (physicians, lawyers, professors) associated with the Universities or Academies.
The Fonte Avellana library at Serra Sant’Abbondio, for example, begun as a monastery (980) and was originally based in the Scriptorium. It is divided into subject categories and contains books from the 16th century. The Oliveriana library in Pesaro is especially noteworthy, conserving numerous parchment scrolls and thousands of printed books and manuscripts of high value and importance. At Jesi, the Renaissance Palazzo della Signoria, designed by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, is home to the Planettiana civic library which contains numerous ancient and modern collections totalling over 11,000 books as well as the civic historical archives. The Monaldo Leopardi library in Recanati has over 20,000 books mostly collected and catalogued by Monaldo, the father of Giacomo. The location of the volumes and memories has remained unaltered since it was begun. The Mozzi Borgetti library in Macerata, created in 1773 in the rooms of the former College of the Society of Jesus, inherited the Jesuit library and many other collections. It currently holds 350,000 volumes, as well as 10,000 manuscripts, 300 incunables and over 4,000 editions from the 16th century. The Romolo Spezioli library was set up in Fermo in 1688. Spezioli was the private physician of Queen Maria Cristina of Sweden, at the court of Rome, while the Giulio Gabrielli library in Ascoli Piceno (1849), was added to especially with the archives and bookshops of the former religious corporation (1861 – 1866) and through bequests.
Discover also the libraries and historic bookshops that today offer many opportunities for reading: from access to museums, discovering surroundings, antique furnishings, volumes of special decorative value and so-called special collections: manuscripts, prints, archive documents – to an investigation of how the library heritage was formed. Some libraries are actually open arenas undergoing continuous development; full of modern books and equipped with multimedia facilities, they are important centres for education and updating knowledge, covering a vast range of interests, such as those of Pesaro and Moie in the municipality of Maiolati Spontini.