Amazing

By Jack Williams


This photographer travels the globe to capture the world’s most beautiful libraries.

Massimo Listri’s 30-year pursuit has taken him to the likes of medieval chambers and 19th-century wonders.

Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters: Stiftsbibliothek Kremsmunster, Kremsmunster, Austria. Monastery library built between 1680 and 1689 and containing about 160,000 volumes.

Some of the images feature rich mahogany which lights up the room while in others grand statues, globes and ceiling installations immediately capture the eye.

The photographer, from Florence, Italy, said that everything about these grand venues attracts him – from the simple smell of dust, leather and wood to the pleasure of opening an aged book.

Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters: Wiblingen Abbey Library, Germany

Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters: Biblioteca Comunale, Fermo, Italy

Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters: Biblioteca Statale Oratoriana dei Girolamini, Naples, Italy

Massimo’s travels have taken him to the likes of Trinity College, Dublin, home of the Book of Kells; the oldest library in Naples; a monastery in Austria; and sprawling research facilities housed across Europe.

Other venues have played host to the likes of baroque halls and even bats, which protect the books from becoming damaged by insects.

No location has seemed to be off limits for bibliophile Massimo, who has shot collections both private and public, as well as those gathered for educational purposes.

Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters : Codrington Library, Oxford, UK

Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters: Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, Paris, France. Contains more than 2 million documents and was the inspiration for the Boston Public Library

Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters – (Pictured: Biblioteca do Convento de Mafra, Mafra, Portugal. A library 88 metres long with more than 36,000 leather-bound volumes

Massimo said: “Libraries are different than all the other architectural interiors because they contain the books.

“For me they are the most beautiful environments in the world, where, in addition to being an object of beauty at a glance, there is the substance of knowledge.”

The result of diligent Massimo’s pursuit is his book, The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries, which was released this year.

Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters: Seitenstetten Abbey Library, Austria

 Pic from Massimo Listri / Caters : Saint Emmerams Abbey, Germany

He added: “I have photographed architecture since I was 18 and I am a bibliophile.

“These two things together led me to make the book on libraries. I would like to live in a library.”