February 26, 2017

2963 ITALY (Veneto) - National Library of St Mark's - part of Venice and its Lagoon (UNESCO WHS)

The National Library of St Mark's (Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana) in Venice, named after St. Mark, the patron saint of the city, is one of the earliest surviving public manuscript depositories in Italy, holding one of the greatest classical texts collections in the world. It is not to be confused with the State Archive of the Republic of Venice, which is housed in a different part of the city. The library was provided with a building in Renaissance style designed by Jacopo Sansovino. The first sixteen arcaded bays of his design were constructed during 1537 to 1553, with work on frescoes and other decorations continuing until 1560.

Sansovino died in 1570, but in 1588, Vincenzo Scamozzi undertook the construction of the additional five bays, still to Sansovino's design, which brought the building down to the molo or embankment, next to Sansovino's building for the Venetian mint, the Zecca. However, the library stock began to be collected before the construction of the building. For example, the gem of the collections in the library was the gift to the Serenissima of the manuscript collection assembled by Byzantine humanist, scholar, patron and collector, Cardinal Bessarion.

Like the British Library or the Library of Congress at later times, the Biblioteca Marciana profited from a law of 1603 that required that a copy be deposited in the Marciana of all books printed at Venice, the first such law. The Marciana was enriched by the transfer in the late 18th century of the collections accumulated in several monasteries, such as SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice and S. Giovanni di Verdara in Padua. With the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, the Marciana was enriched by the transfer of manuscripts and books from religious houses that were suppressed under the Napoleonic regime.

In 1811 the library was moved to more spacious quarters in the Doge's Palace. In 1904 the collection was moved to Sansovino's Zecca. The Library has since expanded back into its adjacent original quarters and even into sections of the Procuratie Nuove facing Piazza San Marco. Today, besides about a million printed books, the Biblioteca Marciana contains about 13,000 manuscripts and 2883 incunabula and 24,055 works printed between 1500 and 1600. Among the irreplaceable treasures are unique scores of operas by Francesco Cavalli and sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti.

National Library of St Mark's is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Venice and its Lagoon, about which I wrote here.

About the stamp

The stamp on the front of the maxicard is part of a series began in 2015 and continued in 2016, Excellence in Knowledge:
Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III (0.80 EUR)
Instituto Guglielmo Tagliacarne (0.80 EUR)
Biblioteca Lucchesiana (0.80 EUR)
Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (0.95 EUR) 
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice (0.95 EUR) - It's on the postcard 2963

The stamp on the back of the maxicard is part of the series of definitive stamp about which I wrote here.

About the postmarks

Venezia Filatelico (commemorative postmark) - 31.01.2017

Venezia Filatelico (ordinary postmark)  - 31.01.2017

This is my contribution for Sunday Stamps II, hosted by the blog See it on a Postcard. The theme of this week is Northern Hemisphere.

Biblioteca Marciana - Wikipedia

Sender: Radu Tusan
Sent from Venice (Veneto / Italy), on 31.01.2017 


  1. Very nice stamp and first day cover.

  2. That's a building I would like to visit.

  3. Awesome post, thanks for the information about the stamp and for sharing the two different postmarks too in a size we can easily admire each.