The Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze has its origins in
the 30.000 volumes of the private
library of Antonio Magliabechi, bequeathed in 1714, according to
his will, to the city of Florence.
To increment the growing Library in 1737 it was decided by decree
that one copy of all works printed
in Florence be deposited there and after 1743 one copy of all
publications printed in the entire Grand
Duchy of Tuscany. In 1747 it was opened to the public for the
first time with the name of
Magliabechiana. During the following years the Library was
enriched by many legacies and gifts and
by the acquisition of the collections of the monastic libraries
following the dissolution of the religious
corporations. In 1861 the Magliabechiana was unified with the
important Biblioteca Palatina (created
by Ferdinand III of Lorraine and continued by his successor
Leopold II) and assumed the name of
National Library and in 1885 of National Central Library of
Florence (hereafter referred to as
In its early days the Library had its headquarters in rooms belonging to the Uffizi; in 1935 it moved to the present building, for which work began in 1911 to the design of the architect Cesare Bazzaniu, and which was afterwards enlarged by the architect V. Mazzei. The building, one of the rare examples of a library construction, is a part of the monumental area of Santa Croce. From 1886 to 1957 the BNCF published the "Bollettno delle pubblicazioni italiane ricevute per diritto di stampa", which in 1958 became "Bibliografia Nazionale Italiana" (BNI) (The Italian National Bibliography).
BNCF is also the pilot center for the creation of the National Library System (SBN), whose main aims are the automation of library services and the constitution of a national index of the collections of Italian libraries.
The flood of 1966 caused enormous damage to the BNCF, in particular to the periodicals collection, to the precious collection of Miscellanee, to the antiquarian Magliabechiana and Palatina collections, and to numerous other collections, as well as to all card and paper catalogue, to the bibliographical apparatus of the reading rooms and to the furnishings. A considerable part of the damaged collections has been saved thanks to the work of the Restoration Center, set up specially, but a consistent part was totally lost.