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Tickitaly are official agents for the Vatican and offer Vatican tickets as well as both group and private Vatican tours You may also be interested in our FAQ page where we attempt to answer all your questions on visiting the Vatican.

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Biblioteca Apostolico Vaticana (Vatican Library)

The Biblioteca Apostolico Vaticana, or Vatican Library is one of the world's oldest archives of books and contains numerous important texts, with 1.1 million books and 75,000 manuscripts. These include the oldest known Bible in existence, the Codex Vaticanus, four very early copies of Virgil (from the fourth century AD), the first and second letters of St Peter on papyrus scrolls, letters from Michelangelo grumpily demanding payment for his work on the Vatican, letters between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn: the historical scope and diversity is immense, and today the library is a valuable resource for researchers.

The library was formerly established in the Vatican in 1448, by Pope Nicholas V, but it drew on far earlier Vatican collections. Some were drawn from the Lateran Palace and some from Avignon (the home of the papacy during the early Middle Ages), some from the imperial library at Constantinople. In 1448, Nicholas combined around 350 codices in Latin, Hebrew and Greek with his own library, and brought in architect Domenico Fontana to build them a home.

Over the centuries, the Biblioteca Vaticana has been augmented by further major bequests (in addition to continuous acquisitions). In 1623, the Palatine Library of Heidelberg's 3500 manuscripts were absorbed into the library. In 1657 the library of the Dukes of Urbino was subsumed, and the royal library of Sweden was given to the Vatican in 1689.

A colourful urban legend is that the Vatican possesses an enormous collection of pornography - this possibly fuelled by the removal of The Secret Vatican Archives (containing some 150,000 items) at the start of the seventeenth century. Sadly, this myth appears to be just that, with very few erotic pieces added since the Renaissance.

Tickitaly are official agents for the Vatican and offer individual ticket booking as well as both group and private tours - click here for information on arranging a private tour for you and your party, and click here for information on joining a group tour of the Vatican.


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