Cultural Travels from Home: A Private Opening of the Library at San Francesco della Vigna in Venice

Thursday 20th May, 11.00AM

In this series of online webinars we visit artists, art historians and guides in cultural cities around the world and enjoy an hour’s guided tour, virtual museum visit or demonstration. The visits are live and interactive, allowing you to ask questions. These webinars will enable you to gain special access to sites, studios and galleries which are either currently closed or difficult to visit whilst at the same time providing a wonderful opportunity to travel virtually from home, no matter your location. Our visits will also support galleries and individuals working in the cultural sector whose activities have been affected by the pandemic.

Today we are delighted to bring you the world's first ever virtual tour of the precious collection of manuscripts in the Library of San Francesco della Vigna in Venice, which will be led by expert Venetian guide Dr Luisella Romeo and accompanied by Brother Rino Sgarbossa, who for years has taken care and promoted these collections, thus enabling us to appreciate the value of the ancient publishing tradition in Venice.

In the middle of the 13th century the Franciscan order founded a monastery in Castello, choosing the area where, according to legend, St Mark the Evangelist would eventually find his resting place in Venice. Important patrician families such as the Gritti and the Grimani then financed the church, whose elegant façade designed by Andrea Palladio stands next to the ancient cloisters. The library of the monastery is particularly rich and on this special private tour we will have the chance to discover many of its precious and rare manuscripts. 

The library will be opened especially for our group and we are most grateful to Brother Rino for allowing us special exclusive access, despite the current Italian lockdown regulations. All bookings will include a donation / "virtual entrance ticket" which will help support the library and monastic complex at a particularly challenging time.

This is a live webinar starting at 11.00am GMT and will last approximately one hour 15 minutes including Q&A .  Tune in from anywhere in the world to participate or enjoy a recorded version if you cannot watch live. For those who are unable to participate live, you will automatically be sent a recording soon after the end of the session enabling you to watch on catch up later that evening or the following day. Please note, the recording is only available to those who have not been able to participate live, and it is not possible to purchase a recording after booking has closed.

Please refer to the Further Information panel below. Bookings close the day before the lecture is streamed.

Art History in Focus is proud to have initiated the concept of online tours in a number of major Italian museums and historic sites in Venice, Assisi, Perugia and Milan. We are delighted to have developed these collaborations which continue to raise important funds for the galleries and cultural sites as well as those working in the cultural sector.


Further Information


1. BOOK.

Click on the gold “Book This Course/Event” button on the right hand side now, fill in the online booking form and pay online. You will be notified automatically by email once your booking has been accepted.

Please ensure you enter your email address correctly, as your Zoom link will be sent to this address, thank you.

The cost is £13.50 per person. If making bookings for a number of people please provide their email addresses and book them as separate participants.


Download ZOOM once you have booked - please print/download the instructions in this downloadable link and read them carefully.  Zoom works best when using Google Chrome


You will receive an email approximately 24-48 hours in advance of the event asking you to register.** This is a privacy function enabling only registered participants to attend. After registering you will receive the Zoom log in link immediately both on your screen and by email, please keep it safely as you will need it to log in

** Please note that these details are sent out in office hours, so if you book on a weekend you may not receive them until Monday. You must register with the same name that you have booked under and at least 45 minutes before the lecture begins, otherwise you may not be able to watch. If you have not received your email confirmations, please check your ‘deleted items' and 'junk mail' folders.


Join the lecture at least ten minutes before it is scheduled to start, to ensure everything is working.

If you are not able to watch the lecture at the time it is live-streamed, you can still book online, as above. You will be contacted after the lecture has been broadcast with instructions on how to access the recorded lecture, for up to 24 hours afterwards.You do not need to advise us if you can't participate live, don't worry! NB the recording is not available to those who have participated live

Bookings close the day before the lecture is streamed.

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions for booking this event. We regret that we are unable to offer technical support with Zoom but tips can be found in the attachment. If you would like to book more than one event, please book separately for each lecture that you would like to attend, thank you. If you are booking for more than one person, it is important that you include their email address so that we can send them the lecture link too. We regret we are unable to offer refunds but don't worry if you are not able to attend, as we will send you the recorded lecture link.

Photograph © Fra Rino Sgarbossa and Luisella Romeo

A big thank you for the very much enjoyed zoom lectures with you and Luisella. It is certainly the highlight of the week leaving us with so many happy memories and positive thoughts”

Mrs S Kerr

Read more testimonials and comments


  • World premiere!
  • Private opening and exclusive access to the library and its valuable manuscripts
  • Accessible from anywhere in the world
  • Live, interactive guided tour with expert Venetian guide
  • Accompanied by library curator, Brother Rino Sgarbossa
  • Ticket price/donation to the convent and library included
  • Live Q&A



To book, please complete our online booking form.

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