This past August, my husband and I had the good fortune to travel to Europe. We spent a week in Lucerne, Switzerland, attending spectaular concerts at the renowned Lucerne Music Festival and hiking in the Alps with friends. After traveling by train to Italy, we visited Lucca, Florence and Cinque Terra, walking for miles, and loving the history and beauty of the area.
From there, we took the train to Venice, where we took in many of the wonderful museums and explored the city. One of the museums we visited was the Museo Correr in Venice, Italy. The Correr sits directly across Piazza San Marco from Basilica San Marco, and is steps away from the Grand Canal. There is an awe-inspiring amount of history and culture in just this one small area but I am going to focus on one exhibit in the Correr.
Within the museum is the Pisani Library, a room filled with beautiful walnut bookcases that came from the Pisani family palace at San Vidal. The Pisanis, an aristocratic family in Venice from the 12th to 18th centuries, were an important influence on the culture and politics of the time. According to the Museo Correr, they were “the first to set up what might be called a library-museum, in an attempt to endow the city’s publishing industry with its own aura of grandeur and munificent service to the State.”
The bookcases today are filled with “rare manuscripts and printed works, dating from the early Sixteenth Century to the end of the Eighteenth.” Surrounding the shelves are display cases with beautiful books from the 1500-1600s.
The chandelier hanging above was made from Murano glass in the 1700s. Murano is a series of small islands just outside of Venice and has been home to glass-making since 1291, when the glassmakers of Venice were forced to move there due to fear of fire within the city and its wood buildings.
It was fascinating and awe-inspiring to view the intricate artwork in books from hundreds of years ago. I’m grateful that people such as the Pisani family valued their libraries and preserved the world’s heritage through books. During this “digital age,” let’s not forget the importance and endurance of the printed page.