The ‘Crociera’ and the Reading Room in the Roman College building
Since 1989, BiASA has had a satellite location within the Roman College building (the Palazzo del Collegio Romano). That structure was erected between 1581 and 1584 as the headquarters of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in Rome thanks to the interest of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585, born Ugo Boncompagni), who commissioned its design to Jesuit architect Giuseppe Valeriani (1526-1596). After the capital of Italy was transferred to Rome in 1870, the building was chosen as the main site of the National Library thanks to the efforts of Ruggero Bonghi (1826-1895) in the brief time he was Minister of Education, from 1874 to 1876.
The building is currently used by a few different entities, dividing its spaces between the Ministry of Culture, the Ennio Quirino Visconti High School and the Church of Saint Ignatius. Within the space used by the Ministry of Culture, BiASA has been assigned the Sala della Crociera and the Reading Room.
The Sala della Crociera is part of the original late-sixteenth-century building, as is proved by the heraldic insignia of Pope Gregory XIII above the entry doors and on the vaults. This space was originally home to the Biblioteca Major, the library of the Roman College, founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola and modelled after the University of Paris. The Reading Room dates to the 1870s and was designed by Francesco Bongioannini (1847-1928), based on a sixteenth-century drawing by Jacopo Barozzi, known as Vignola (1507-1573).
In these two spaces, BiASA has installed the numeric section, which includes a large part of the collections amassed by the library itself, and the library collections that originated as donations and bequests. The latter include the Alfredo Castellani Archive, the Alfredo Dusmet Archive, the Pagliara Archive, the Ruffo Archive and the Attilio Rossi Archive.