Logo BNB


Fondo Manzoniano

In July 1885 (just twelve years after Alessandro Manzoni's death) Pietro Brambilla (husband of Vittoria, Manzoni's niece) wrote to the Prefect of Braidense, Isaia Ghiron, the family's will to donate to the Milanese Library the collection of Manzoni's manuscripts that he owned. Brambilla, although, asked the Library "to give a special room" to host Manzoni's works "and the correspondent publications" with the explicit "mention of the donation made".

The deal between the donor and the Ministry of Education were pretty quick and the Prefect Ghiron recommended further increases calling the hears of everyone who knew Manzoni. There were many donations and the Manzonian Room, prepared by Lodovico Pogliaghi, could be inaugurated on November the 5th, 1886, at the presence of the King and Queen of Italy.

The donation of Ercole Gnecchi (various autographs), the device of Giulia Costantini Manzoni (pieces of Manzonian iconography) and the Vismara Collection, rich of many rare copies of the I Promessi sposi increased the collection.

Between 1924 and 1925 two important grups of manzonian works came to enrich the fund: the National Association for Southern Italy donated a considerable number of memorabilia, autographs and iconographs which belonged to Stefano Stampa, Manzoni's step son (and from him, at his death, devises to Pio Istituto pei Figli della Provvidenza di Milano) and the engineer Federico Gentili donated a series of autographs (247 letters), books (600 items) and a great number of portraits and memorabilia which belonged to the umbelievably rich collection of the Gnecchi family and were bought at an auction in Paris, through the publisher Ulrico Hoepli, by the heirs of Mrs. Isabella Gnecchi Bozzotti.

The Manzonian Room became too little for so much material. This was at first deposited in the new National Centre of Manzonian Studies and then, during the Second World War, transferred to the Benedictine Abbey of Pontida. When the war ended the Ministry of Education ordered that the collection returned to the Braidense in order to respect the donor's will. In Manzoni's house remained the memorabilia and part of the iconography.

The new Manzonian Room was projected by the architect Tommaso Buzzi and was inaugurated on November the 5th 1951 at the presence of the President of the Republic, Luigi Einaudi.

Nowadays the manzonian collection counts 250 manuscripts (in total about 9,000 papers), 550 volumes of Manzoni's library, 200 of which are commented, circa 5,000 pieces of correspondence, 1,000 voumes of Manzoni's works, 1,000 volumes of critics and 1,800 items placed in miscellanea.

In the Open Shelf Room the Catalogue of the Fondo Manzoniano is available to the public.

Nowadays, the Manzonian Room is used for the reading of manuscripts and of the rare books owned by the Braidense, and of course also of the Fondo Manzoniano and the Collection of the Ricordi Hystorical Archives.