The historical seat of the Museo Irpino is located in a building of neorationalist architecture, known as Palace of Culture inaugurated on 19 December 1966.
The building develops around a small central courtyard: the archaeological section occupies the entire ground floor for a total area of about 2,000 square metres. On the upper floor there is the crib section, and on the same floor there is the media library with 10 navigation stations, 3 locations for optical storage and the editing of hypertexts, a video library and a sound library.
On the second floor there is the provincial library “Scipione e Giulio Capone”, while in the basement there are the newspaper library and the children’s library.
The Palace of Culture, located in the place once occupied by the botanical garden of the Bourbon Age, was designed by the architect Francesco Fariello, who won in 1955 a national competition for the design of the new building “Museo Irpino and Biblioteca”, organized by the Provincial Administration of Avellino.
The architect proposed a small building to protect the site pre-existing trees. The design approach led to the preparation of a single entrance and stair block for the entire structure without preventing functional distribution solutions, ensuring the construction of a large open garden on the Fenestrelle river.
The Provincial Library of Avellino describes the story of our territory through the valuable donations of eminent people from Irpinia, whose lives were characterised by bibliophily, interest in the history of their land, passion for arts, sciences and letters.
The first important donation for content and quantity is the Capone donation, made in 1910 by Adele Solimene in the name of her husband Scipione Capone and her son Giulio. 30,000 volumes were inventoried and divided into 3 macro areas by Salvatore Pescatori and Francesco Scandone.
Interesting examples from the collection are: ““Erbario figurato, un trattato di medicina e una raccolta di ricette varie” of the 15th century from Alta Irpinia; “Laudes” by Jacopone da Todi, a paper manuscript of the first half of the 15th century; the incunabulum of 1494 “Dialogus in astrologie defensionem” by Giovanni Battista Abioso from Bagnoli; “Croniche di Monte Vergine” by Gian Giacomo Giordano of 1649.
In 1913 the library was opened to the public and entrusted to Salvatore Pescatori; over time, there were many important donations which, added to purchases, have created a heritage of about 300,000 volumes including monographs and magazines. We remember great benefactors such as Enrico Cocchia, Giuseppe Pennetti, Goffredo and Andrea Capone who donated their father’s Filippo Capone entire collection, Giuseppe Passaro, Michele Severini, Nicola De Conciliis, Giuseppe Salomone, Gaetano and Giovanni Trevisani, Carmine Modestino, Giuseppe Zigarelli, Tozzoli, Carlo del Balzo, Michele Pironti, Raffaele De Maio, Augusto Guerriero, Vincenzo Cannaviello, Antonio and Agostino Pennetta, Giuseppe Aiello, Fausto Grimaldi, Convenevole, Fiorentino Sullo, Nicola Mancino.
In 1919 a precious piece joined the under construction cultural network, the Tozzoli donation. The family from Calitri boasted a really valuable library with texts, pamphlets and the precious book collection of Michele Tafuri, Enrico’s grandfather.
It contained a very rare newspaper library with magazines printed in Naples between 1817 and 1885, such as the “Cronaca Sibarita”, “Fanfulla”, or the newspaper founded and directed by Francesco De Sanctis “L’Italia”, as well as correspondence like thr letters of Gian Bernardino Tafuri, collaborator of Ludovico Antonio Muratori.
In 1923 Anna donated the collection of her father Carlo Del Balzo, lawyer, journalist, writer and politician, with 8,000 volumes and a correspondence of considerable value. Old books and first editions are added to Dante’s volumes, creating the impressive collection “Raccolta di poesia di mille autori intorno a Dante”. “Rivista nuova di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti”, founded by Del Balzo in 1879, clearly attested the collaborations of the lawyer with contemporary intellectuals such as Giovanni Verga, Luigi Capuana, Matilde Serao, Max Nordou, Jules Lermina: in fact, we can find private writings and handwritten works, for example “La Lupa” by Verga and “Cuoio di Russia” by Matilde Serao.
In 1932 the library bought a collection by Giuseppe Masi with Raffaele Masi’s manuscripts, which included six autograph letters by Alessandro Manzoni and his sons to Raffaele Masi.
The archive jealously preserves the manuscripts of Francesco Scandone who, for his studies on the history of Avellino and the Irpinia municipalities, is a fundamental reference. The flagship is certainly the De Sanctis collection, acquired by the donations of Agnese and Carlo De Sanctis, thanks to the intermediation of Benedetto Croce and the first librarian Salvatore Pescatori. Avellino hosts the nucleus of the literary critic’s manuscripts: the early works, “Saggio introduttivo su “Le Ricordanze” di Settembrini”, “Saggi Leopardiani”, “Frammenti della traduzione del Faust di Goethe”, a part of his correspondence and finally “Un viaggio elettorale”.
The new location of the newspaper library, inaugurated in 2015, is named after the late mayor of Avellino, Antonio Di Nunno: it has about 2,000 publications of open and ceased magazines. These include local newspapers, such as the “Corriere dell’Irpinia”, directed by Guido Dorso and then by Alfonso Carpentieri, “Roma” published in Naples with an appreciable local page, donated by Fausto Grimaldi, the earliest ” Irpino ”of 1861 or the renowned“ Don Basilio ”. We also remember the collection of the journalist Augusto Guerriero, also known as Ricciardetto, which includes “Omnibus”, “Epoca”, “Il Tempo”, “L’Irpinia Democratica”, founded with Dorso.
The media library, multimedia section of the library, offers access to electronic workstations and resources, interlibrary loan, document delivery and access to MLOL.
The kids section collects books for children from 0 to 14 years and deals above all with the promotion of reading activities, offering specialized courses.