The Medici and the Badia Fiesolana
After the monastery of the Badia Fiesolana had been assigned to the order of the Augustinian canons, their abbot Timoteo Maffei successfully persuaded Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464) to sponsor a complete renovation. Part of this enormous effort was to provide the monastery, its pupils and outside readers with a functional library, the stocking of which Cosimo took personal charge, choosing as a model the literary canon composed by Tommaso Parentucelli (pope Nicholas V). The future pope had composed this list on Cosimo’s request for stocking the semi-public library of San Marco, and was thereafter applied with alterations also for other places. In the fifteenth century, comparative collection management for libraries must have seemed a new concept. In its structure and content, Parentucelli’s canon, a carefully considered outline of humanistic scientific history, is an extremely valuable tool, offering criteria by which to access the qualitative and quantitative stocking of a library in the 15th century. At the same time, it affords glimpses of public reading customs.