Provincial library



In 1929 the Provincial Council instituted the Library in order to comply with the rules of law that entrusted the libraries of the chief town with the role of research and public reading institutes.

It was attached to the other cultural institutes of the Province such as the Museo del Sannio, founded in 1873, and the Historical Archive, instituted in 1909, with which it constitutes a complex body entrusted to the direction of Alfredo Zazo. For this organisation it was necessary to acquire a larger portion of the Rocca dei Rettori Pontifici, where the museum and the Archive were formerly located: hence the purchase of the monumental architectural complex of Santa Sofia, former headquarters of the Benedictine Abbey, commissioned in the eighth century by Arechi II, Lombard prince of Benevento.

In Santa Sofia the Provincial Library remained until its formal autonomy from the museum, decided by the Provincial Council in 1973, at the same time as the suppression of the Archive, later incorporated by the museum. In 1975 it was transferred to the eighteenth-century Palazzo dei marchesi Terragnoli, purchased at this purpose. The scientific accompaniment of the works of the museum, already directed by Almerico Meomartini and the documentation of the Archive, already edited by Antonio Mellusi, was the first collection of books, which formed the original nucleus of the Provincial Library.

Alfredo Zazo understood the need to share this heritage according to the specificity of a real library. He was responsible for the acquisition of libraries belonging to families from the province of Benevento (Capasso Torre delle Pastene, Foschini, Piccirilli) and to various organisations (Jesuit College, “Margherita di Savoia” institute), as well as correspondence of

Samnite personalities (Carlo and Federico Torre, Almerico Meomartini, Antonio Mellusi). Zazo is responsible for the acquisition of publications of local interest, with particular attention to periodicals. This allowed the preservation of newspapers of absolute rarity (“La Gazzetta di Benevento”) and unique numbers of local magazines.

On this basis, in the sixties, Mario Rotili regularized the opening hours to the public and provided adequate staff to the institute, also starting a scientific classification of the bibliographic heritage, the inter-library loan, the inclusion of the Library in the National Reading Service thus increasing the various Sections with planned purchases. From 1975 until now, the Library has continued, under the direction of Salvatore Basile, in the action indicated by the legislation for provincial libraries, responding, in particular, to the needs of the humanistic side of studies and the demands of the school world. In 2000 a new phase opened with the unification of the direction of the museum, the Library and Cultural Heritage in the person of Elio Galasso.

After having completed the restoration of the museum complex, the Administration chaired by Carmine Nardone recovered the Library, subjected to implementation of the technical interventions, required by security regulations. The new Library model is based on the idea of a synthesis between local and global culture, as well as on the reading of the epochal scientific revolutions in progress. The bibliographic interest will be oriented: 1) towards the new frontiers of science, technology and interdisciplinary aspects (biotechnology, bioethics, new rights, bio-sustainability, new economy, globalization), the knowledge of which may encourage the formation and development of critical thinking in citizenship; 2) towards youth training, particularly oriented to the use of knowledge; 3) towards the Samnium territory, for a study of the environment, of the human paths of the province and of the modifications of its territory, according to a multidisciplinary approach; 4) towards the new horizons of the development of South Italy and, in general, of the weaker territorial areas, in the challenge of globalization; 5) towards the Cultural Heritage produced by the civilization of man, in a vision not only historical, but aimed at emphasizing reciprocity with the urban centres and the transformations of the humanized landscape.


Palazzo Terragnoli as can be seen in the cartouche of the portal, dates back to 1767. Its location, along the ancient Via Magistrale, attests to the role of that Marquis family, whose first known personality was Giacomo, Auditor of the Apostolic Nunciature in Portugal and Spain under the pontificate of Paul V, at the end of the 16th century. The Terragnoli family became extinct, however, in the first half of the twentieth century.

The author of the Palace project is unknown. It is attributed to Filippo Raguzzini, original exponent of the Italian Rococo, active for Pope Benedict XIII Orsini in Rome. One of his masterpieces is Piazza Sant’Ignazio. Although altered in the chromatic ratios, the facade of Palazzo Terragnoli retains the original proportions and lines, based on the white profiles of the openings, in contrast with the dense fabric of an ashlar that simulates cotto tiles.

The interior, adapted by subsequent uses, retains only the stables and the noble stone staircase, both with decorative reliefs. The coat of arms of the Terragnoli marquises is not present in the palace, as described in 700 by Mario Della Vipera: “A mole that gazes at the sun in a blue field placed over a green hill that stretches for a third of the field”.


The Institute remained closed to the public for a long time: first of all because it had to provide for the renovation of the internal facilities; then because radical interventions were necessary to the structures and environments to make them comfortable and suitable to respond to a cultural demand now calibrated on the times and needs of the third millennium.

The project was promoted in 1999 by the Giunta Nardone: with financial resources found in the Budget of the Province, unnecessary partitions (erected when the Palace was the seat of the Bank of Italy) were demolished and some forgotten premises returned to light.

The same entrance has been redesigned in order to make it welcoming, also thanks to sober, but fascinating furnishing and scenographic solutions; a new space called “Sannioincontro” has been founded, that is a wide area for exhibitions and cultural and artistic confrontation. A new environment, called “Sala dell’Autore”, has been created, allowing a more direct and close relationship between the public and the writer.

The new scientific system, no longer generalist but specialized on some important cultural themes; the foundation of the “Mediateca”; the introduction of the Library into the national and international virtual network; modern tools for the study and analysis of texts offered to readers, complete the framework of the strategic interventions designed to give new impetus to the Provincial Library.


  • Telephone: CUP (booking centre) 345 7542984
  • Opening hours: Monday – Friday:
    Every morning from 8:30 to 13:00
    Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 14:45 to 17:45
    ATTENTION! The Library is closed from 08 to 19 August and 24 August
  • Address: Corso Garibaldi, 47, 82100 Benevento