About the Sciences Library


Director: Gianni Galeota - PEC: bsc(AT)

The libraries that make up the Science Library are medium-sized, some located within the respective departments of the School of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences and in various locations throughout the city. Except for the Mathematics and Sciences Campus sites, their location is connected to historical buildings that are also home to various sections of the Museum of Natural History of the University, to which the library collections are closely related.
This is the case of Anthropology, housed in the Palazzo Nonfinito, along with the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology; Botany, located on the ground floor of a building whose upper floors house Herbaria and plant specimens collected by scientific personalities who have also donated volumes and documents.
The same is true for Geomineralogy, also in Via La Pira, and for Animal Biology -now in Sesto- which remained at La Specola until 2017 and was connected to the zoology exhibits still in Via Romana. Chemistry and Physics have moved their library holdings to the Sciences Campus but have experienced shifts and curtailments of their original collections over time.
Many ancient books on Physics and partly on Geomineralogy are placed on commodate at the Galileo Museum.
Despite this diaspora, much of the Science Library's holdings have, for the oldest part, a common origin coming from the Royal and Imperial Museum of Physics and Natural History, established in 1775 at the behest of Peter Leopold of Lorraine.
Like the collections housed in today's University Museum, the books were gathered in Palazzo Torrigiani, home of La Specola, and initially formed a single Library. The splitting-up of the Museum's "Library" on Via Romana was inevitable with the proliferation of Cabinets and courses that began after 1859 when the Higher Institute of Practical and Advanced Studies was born.
Palazzo Torrigiani, which had become home to the Institute's Science Section, could no longer hold all nor the growing number of exhibits, so, slowly, chairs, laboratories, books, and collections moved elsewhere.

  • Each location has its opening hours; therefore, it is advisable to consult the relevant pages for detailed information about addresses, phone numbers, e-mail, and services provided.
  • The Library has bibliographic holdings of about 147,400 books, with open subscriptions to ebook series, and about 8,700 journals, more than 1,000 of which are by subscription, almost all in electronic format.
  • The Library also holds 24 archival collections, 21 book collections, and 28 miscellanies, described here: Archives and historical collections of the Sciences Library.

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