It turns out that the Vatican Library -- or "Vat" as it is known to scholars -- is a surprisingly open institution, though it was closed for three years to repair the building. Scholars from all over the world pour over the manuscripts and take breaks in a cafe just for them.
And, even more amazing, the Vat is on-line. Beginning in the 1990s, the Vatican librarians began digitizing the manuscripts. I spent some time this morning wandering through the Vatican stacks and I never left my favorite chair at home.
The website is a bit clunky (hey, this
is the Vatican) but it is maneuverable if you are dedicated. You can get there by clicking HERE. Not only that, but there really is something called The Vatican Secret Archives, and you can get inside on-line HERE.
I've put a few items from the Vat on the blog for you this morning just to tantalize you. The manuscript at the top is from the Concordat of Worms in 1122, and the other item is from one of Wolfgang Mozart's notebooks from 1770. I can't possibly read either of these items, but it is great to know they are there, and that the world's scholars have access to these irreplaceable manuscripts.
One of these days I'd love to go there for real. Until then, I'll enjoy my on-line visits.