THE URBINO INVENTORIES
The first inventory of the library that has come down to us today was compiled around 1487, after the death of Federico (d. 1482), under his son Guidubaldo I (1472-1508), probably on the occasion of the transfer of properties to the new Lord of the city. The inventory, known as the Indice vecchio (Urb. lat. 1761, ff. 1r-126r) was compiled by the librarian Agapito. It was probably based on a previous inventory now lost (see Moranti, Organizzazione della biblioteca, pp. 43-44). The index has an extraordinary documentary importance as it photographs the status of the collection as desired by its owner and allows for the reconstruction of its main characteristics.
Urb. lat. 1761, f. 1r
For a long time, under the successors of Federico – Guidubaldo I (1482-1508), Francesco Maria I Della Rovere (1508-1538), Guidubaldo II (1538-1574) – there were only a few acquisitions. Moreover, the invasion of the troops of Cesare Borgia incurred the loss of a certain number of manuscripts, because in 1502 the collection was robbed and transported to Forlì. It then returned to Urbino in 1504, but the collection had already been dispossessed of most of the precious bindings. More manuscripts were lost due to the disorders that followed the deposition of Francesco Maria I by Leo X in 1516. The two inventories compiled at the beginning of the sixteenth century do not bear substantial changes with respect to the Indice vecchio.
At the death of Guidubaldo, who had desired Agapito to be the librarian, the now elderly Federico Veterani, who under Federico had been a copyist and according to some a miniaturist – took up his role and between 1508 and 1521 wrote a catalog that retraces the Indice vecchio (which he had annotated with several points in the margins, as in f. 80r) and accounts for his corrections, without, however, marking a clear improvement from the Indice vecchio. Nevertheless it does register the detriment of 50 items due to the losses incurred. The inventory is kept in the Historical Archive of the Monastery of San Vincenzo di Prato, Manoscritti, n. 10, fasc. 50 (see Bandini - Fantappiè, Inventario dell'archivio del Monastero di San Vincenzo di Prato, p. 50), and is published in Guasti, Inventario della Libreria Urbinate.
Over the same years, between 1508 and 1512, under the government of Francesco Maria I Della Rovere (1508-1538), another inventory was prepared which was much more concise. It was created by Fabio Vigili (d. 1553), future bishop of Spoleto (from 1540). In fact, it contains a list of all the titles possessed, with little external description, within a volume (the current Barb. lat. 3185) that includes a long series of inventories of various libraries (the inventory of the Urbino collection can be found on ff. 77r-118v, between the inventory of the Greek Medici library and that of the episcopate of Ravenna), all consecutively written by the same hand. As for its structure, it would be more like a collection ordered to the purpose of study than an instrument for library management. Compared to the Indice vecchio, there are 30 more items listed, almost all printed volumes (see Laurent, Fabio Vigili, p. XIX; Guida ai fondi, p. 539; Peruzzi, «Lectissima politissimaque volumina», p. 355).
A further index from the mid-sixteenth century, also attesting to a low number of acquisitions, is found on ff. 127r-145v of the Urb. lat. 1761, following the Indice vecchio. It is addressed to a certain «Signor Rainero» and probably made for administrative purposes, as it contains minimal descriptions of the texts and a different placement order than that used under Federico (see Peruzzi, «Lectissima politissimaque volumina», p. 356).
Urb. lat. 1761, f. 127r
Under the duchy of Francesco Maria II Della Rovere (1574-1631), however, the library was greatly enriched. This is confirmed by two indices, which describe the authors and works of the collection. The first index was written in 1616 by Vittorio Venturelli (future librarian of the Urbino community from 1631 to 1632), currently under the shelfmark Vat. lat. 10482, which, although incomplete, lists 1,058 books, including 129 printed volumes.
The other index was integrated by Alessandro Vanni, the last librarian of the Urbino collection (1640-1657), in 1640, after the death of the duke. It lists about 1,800 manuscripts along with several thousand printed volumes and is now kept at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma «Vittorio Emanuele II», under the shelfmark Gesuitico 146 (see Guida ai fondi, p. 539; Peruzzi, «Lectissima politissimaque volumina», pp. 363, 368).
After Francesco Maria II died without heirs to succeed him, Urban VIII annexed the Duchy of Urbino to the State of the Church. According to the arrangements which the duke established in his testament, the manuscripts of the collection became the property of the community of Urbino, much to the chagrin of the legatees; there were also widespread rumors concerning the dangers of dispersion or possible sales.
The drafting of the topographical inventory signed by the notary Francesco Scudacchi and compiled between October 1631 and September 30, 1632 dates back to this period. It encompasses the two libraries that had been the property of Francesco Maria II, that of Urbino and that of Casteldurante (today Urbania, which he had furnished with a remarkable number of 13,000 volumes), before they were joined. This inventory certifies that the «libraria» inherited by the duke Francesco Maria II consisted in 1,715 volumes (cfr. Peruzzi, «Lectissima politissimaque volumina», pp. 358, 363-368). The inventory is located at the Archivio di Stato di Urbino, Atti del notaio Scudacchi Francesco , vol. 2037, Div. IV, Cass. 15, ff. 167r-234r; it is edited in Moranti - Moranti, Il trasferimento dei «codices Urbinates», pp. 369-451.