Dear Susan Ridyard,
You took the right way. I was there during the Summer 1999 (take care,
between July 15 and September 15 it is closed) and I was really impressed.
Don't worry, there not so many bureaucratic problems there. But it is
necessary to have a kind of letter of recommendation from an institute,
specifying what do you intend to study (preferably, written in Italian, but
not necessarily), and then you could receive a permit ("tessera" in
Italian). Depends: a yearly permit, a monthly one or only a ten-day permit.
Depends on your intention to stay in Rome.
To get there, you just have to take the underground to the "Ottaviano",
metro station. Then, through Piazza d. Risorgimento, on Via d. Porta
Angelica, beside the Vatican's walls. Before reaching the San Pietro square,
there is the entrance called Sant'Anna. You are supposed to present the
passport to the Swiss guards and then you are in the state of Vatican.
Straight on, and there is the library.
First day, you are supposed to present the recommendation to the secretary.
The only problem is that usually the Italians (inclusively, the secretary)
do not know English, and neither any other language but Italian!
Anyway, the second day after that, you could study peacefully.
Another problem is that the manuscripts' catalogues are only in a
rudimentary status. Of course, they are not also in a database. So, your
research would be rather by chance. But let's hope that since 1999 they have
improved the system.
As a poor East European, I was not in the possibility to make any xerox
there. THe starting price is 10,000 Italian lire (meaning circa 10 Deutsche
Marks) for the first page copied, and all the other pages (doesn't matter if
there is only one extra-page or there are 100) 1,000 Italian Lire (1 DM)
each other. This is the case for both the manuscripts and the printed books.
Despite all these, please believe me, you'll not regret!!!
All the best, and happy hunting there,
[log in to unmask]
> I am hoping to make a research trip to the Vatican library this summer and
> would be grateful for advice from people who have used the library before.
> Is it necessary to get permission in advance to consult MSS there? If so,
> who should be contacted? Does anyone have a library schedule? I'm having
> some trouble with the web-site. More generally, what else should a first
> time user know?
> Sue Ridyard
> Associate Prof. of History