Biblioteca delle Oblate, Florence

A renovated cultural centre for use by city residents

Following a major renovation project, the fourteenth-century building complex of the Oblates in Florence now houses a prestigious library, a newspaper library and a conference hall, becoming a major hub for the city's cultural life
Livio Salvadori
Vincenzo Negro
Année de réalisation

Founded in 1913 with approval of the Regulations for the Library and Historical Archive Service of the City of Florence, the town’s Central Library was initially located in Palazzo Vecchio and housed old and new books originating from municipal offices and from legacies and donations.
The collection has expanded over the years and specialises in works of historical interest with the aim of documenting as fully and comprehensively as possible the cultural, political and administrative life of Florence and Tuscany.
Located within the city centre just a short walk from Piazza Duomo, the library is currently housed in the charming former fourteenth-century Convent of the Oblates, the religious order from which it takes its name. The Oblates came into being in the late thirteenth century, along with the hospital built by Folco Portinari in 1288, as a sisterhood of pious women who tended to the sick in the nearby Santa Maria Nuova Hospital. It was only after the Second World War that they were established as a fully-fledged religious order whose sisters were qualified nurses. The Oblates continued to be based in the premises until 1936, when they moved into the new Careggi hospital. The Florence City Council purchased the building, restored it and moved the Municipal Library to the site, followed later by other prestigious historical and scientific institutions. As a result it became an important hub of cultural life, a role that it continues to fulfil today.
Following a major renovation project that began in 2002 and was carried out in several stages, the Oblate complex is now organised around two main open spaces: the fourteenth-century courtyard, consisting of a cloister with three tiers of arcades surmounted by a terrace; and the garden dating from the mid-fifteenth century. The recently completed extension work was aimed at expanding and rationalising the spaces. The first phase, completed in 2013, focused on the « Florence Museum as It Was », an exhibition that retraced the entire history of the city from its foundation in Roman times through to the Urban Redevelopment in the late nineteenth century, now been moved to the Palazzo Vecchio and other venues. Located in the fifteenth-century portion of the building, this part of the Library houses the new Children’s and Teenagers’ Section, organised in an approximately 700 square metre area along with the 250 square metre gallery. Work on the second phase, completed in 2015, involved restoring and adding new functions to the two large vaulted rooms in the other wing of the complex, where the user reception and information area was located along with a large 200-seat conference hall equipped with multimedia facilities.
The materials chosen for the floor coverings in these latter spaces, which required a unique combination of aesthetic qualities and high technical and functional performance and safety, were ceramic tiles from Ceramiche Caesar. In particular, Verse collection latest-generation large-format porcelain tiles were used for the entrance area and the multifunctional room, giving the spaces a sophisticated contemporary look. Applied in a precise installation layout in 30×120 cm, 25×75 cm and 37.5×75 cm sizes and in the neutral Cloud colour, these tiles stand out for their strong nature-inspired material look.
The Oblate Library currently extends over a total area of 10,000 square metres on three floors, including 7,500 square metres roofed, and houses around 100,000 books, including 40,000 on open shelves.

Caesar, Verse
porcelain stoneware
30x120, 25x75 e 37,5x75 cm
Caractéristiques techniques
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): compliant
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): compliant
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Certifications et prix
ISO 14001
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