The Idea of the Library
Umberto Eco’s Collection of Old Books in the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense.
Over thirty years ago Umberto Eco decided to move house in Milan because he was looking for somewhere big enough to hold all his books. With his wife Renate he found a large ring-shaped flat. He strengthened the floor and filled the corridors with bookshelves. Then he set aside a room – the Room of the Ancients – with a balcony overlooking the Castello Sforzesco to house his growing collection of valuable books. The collection moved to the Studiolo in the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense in May 2022 and an exhibition entitled The Idea of the Library. Umberto Eco’s Collection of Old Books was held to mark the event. In this short video Eco’s friends and scholars and other people who knew him discuss his relationship with libraries, spaces at once snug and infinite, and with books, objects to study, to own and to love.