It was the dream of Cardinal Federico Borromeo to build this library, established in 1609, into a comprehensive resource open to scholars and endowed to serve as a bulwark of Catholic scholarship in the midst of the Counter-Reformation. His agents scoured Western Europe and the Middle East for books and manuscripts, and today the library houses 30,000 in total, ranging from Greek and Latin to Turkish and Persian and including the Codex Ambrosianus and fragments of the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It eventually expanded to encompass the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana art collection, among which are Da Vinci's Portrait of a Musician, Caravaggio's Basket of Fruit, and Raphael's cartoon of The School of Athens.
Facilities for disabled
City centre location
Open 09:00 - 17:00. Closed Sat, Sun.
Admission €15/10. Baptistry €10/8, U14 free.