Historical Archive and Library

The Historical Archive of Oropa Sanctuary  

The Photographic Archive, containing historical images dating back to the end of the 19th century, deserves a particular mention. The photographs depict events such as the ‘Peregrinatio Mariae’ of 1949, the expansion of the cemetery and the construction site of the New Church. They are a precious testimony of memory and cultural identity, illustrating the individual as well as the collective aspect of the spiritual experience of the pilgrimage.

The Historical Library of the Sanctuary

The Library, which preserves the historical memory of Oropa, was created at the beginning of the 17th century thanks to the legacy of religious volumes of the collegial priests of the Sanctuary. During the 18th century the Library expanded thanks to the collections donated by both religious and lay figures. In the 19th century the greater part of the library of the convent of the Augustinian Fathers of Saint Peter, suppressed by the Napoleonic government, was acquired and added to the existing patrimony. The Augustinian fund contained incunabula, several books dating back to the 15th century and a number of volumes, particularly of religious argument, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Amongst these is the Polyglot Bible, published in Nuremberg in 1657, written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, Samaritan, Chaldean, Ethiopian, Syrian, Arabic, Persian and vulgar Latin.

The most significant acquisition was the donation made by Cavalier Gaspare Galeani d’Agliano, whose library included more than 5,000 volumes on the humanities and the sciences, amongst which are texts that are extraordinary for their dimension and rarity, such as: the Archontologia Cosmica by Giovanni Ludovico Gotofredi, edited in Frankfurt in 1649, describing the kingdoms, principalities and known republics of the world, the ten volumes of the Architettura by Vitruvius (published in Venice 1567), the Historia dell’Augusta Città di Torino by Emanuele Tesauro (1679 -1712), the Fisica de’ corpi ponderabili by Amedeo Avogadro of Quaregna (1837) and other equally important volumes, such as the most precious work conserved in the Library, the Theatrum Sabaudiae, subdivided into two great folio volumes edited in Amsterdam in 1682. The donations of the last few decades have expanded the sections relative to the surroundings of Biella and Piedmont, enriching the Library of more than 15,000 volumes.

The Historical Archives and the Library are available for consultation by appointment. Please contact the Administration of the Sanctuary.


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