In Urbino, Pope Clemens XI belonged to the Albani family. Aiming at the promotion of education and learning among his fellow citizens and university students, he arranged the opening of a public library in the convent of St. Francis. The man he appointed for the gathering of books was Maria Lancisi, who was a scientist and a bibliophile. His name is associated with the Lancisiana Library in Rome, as he bequeathed his library to it.
Private and church collections were integrated in the library of Urbino: the collections of Cardinal San Vitali, of Marquis Corboli, of Monsignor Alessandro Fideli, Bishop of Jesi from 1696 to 1715 ( it included mainly books about civil and church law), the library of the Veterani noble family from Urbino ( an ancestor was a librarian at the court of Frederick II), the books belonging to the monks of St. Francesco in Urbino.
The Papal brief dated July 12, 1721 set forth the entirety of the collection as well as the clauses for the consultation of prohibited books.Later on, on 19th May 1721, he underlined the pope’s original intention of opening the library to the public.
The Albani family owned the palazzo until the middle of the 19th century, when it extincted. This event led to the splitting up of the collection of art works and the collection of books ( the vast library and the precious family archive).
In the last few years the library belongs exclusively to the University of Urbino.