The Palazzo Comunale of San Daniele has seen multiple additions and restorations. The 15th century building began in 1415 received its first addition in 1580, when the the large sala consiliare (council chamber) was constructed over the loggia. The room is of a befittingly grand height with a great wood paneled ceiling. The third story at the front of the building features the archives as well as a studio room where the public can view documents. However, the real treat is in the second expansion of the building, constructed in the 18th century. Guisto Fontanini, a well-respected intellect and the first Professor of Linguistics at the Sapienza- Università di Roma, also happened to be a son of San Daniele. Upon his death in 1736, a prelate gifted his collection of 2800 volumes and funding to build a room for the storage of the now expanded collection. (On a side note, the entire collection did not make it to San Daniele- portions were held for “reasons of state” by other cities such as Rome, Florence, Milan, Vinice and even Vienna.)
Construction of a hall was completed by the carpenters Andrioli of Valvasone between 1739 and 1742. The room’s interior is floor to ceiling bookshelves, with a wraparound mezzanine, composed entirely of walnut. The warm caramel color of the wood, the intricate carvings, and the surprising details (such as the locked storage cubbies located in the pillars around the room) make this hall rich and interesting. The last addition came in the 1780s to the back of the building, which is where offices are now located.
As discussed previously, much work was done on the Library during the latest renovation. At one point, enclosing the portico in glass was even discussed. A grand opening was held when the project was completed, and both architect Claudio Del Mestre and Dr Dominic Ruma, who restored the fontaniniano, spoke to the public about their work. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information about the specifics of their work online. If any transcript or recording of their talks are found, I will be sure to update this post. But the pictures of this gorgeous room are enough for now.