Housing Mathematical Treasures
The Laurentian Library
main door of the Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana
in the Canons'
the San Lorenzo Church.
library was founded by Lorenzo de' Medici during the height of
Florence and the Medici family's great contributions to the
Renaissance. The books were originally chained to desks in
a room up a staircase just to the left. The staircase was
designed by none other than Michelangelo. Many of the books still
have their chains, but were moved to this larger facility on the
Cloisters. Today a scholar has the
vicarious pleasure of reading a book with chains while entering notes
on a laptop computer.
The mathematics collection is especially strong in Arabic manuscripts
dating to the Middle Ages and represents the influence in trade and
banking of Florence in that period of history.