Collections and Newspapers

The Harold Acton Library has one of the largest lending collections of books in English in continental Europe.



The Library was born from smaller donated collections and has matured into the present collection of over 50,000 volumes of books published between the 16th and 21st centuries. About 500 new titles are added to the collection every year.

The collection gives particular focus to History of Art, English and Italian literature and language, History, Travel, The Grand Tour, and Music.

The Library has a valuable collection of rare books including many signed first editions. These are reference copies and may be consulted in the Library only.


The Grand Tour Digital Resource

An incomparable on-line resource of manuscript, visual and printed works developed by Adam Matthew Digital. Sources come from the Beinecke Library, the Paul Mellon Centre, the Chaney Library, the British Library, our own archive and others. The resource includes manuscripts of prominent figures, rare and essential printed sources, visual material including paintings and sketches of Italy and the Continent, and a searchable version of Ingamell's Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy, 1701-1800. The database is only accessible to British Institute Library members in the Library.


The Harold Acton Library Suggested Reading Guide



Please note that we keep the newspapers only for one day

The Daily Telegraph

Financial Times

The International New York Times

La Repubblica

Current Periodicals

Blending (only current issue)

The Burlington Magazine, 1922 - 

The Early English Text Society

The Economist (only current issue)

Ethology, Ecology & Evolution (only current issue) 

Florence news (only current issue) 

The Florentine, 2005 - 

TLS (The Times Literary Supplement), 1918 -

Wanted in Rome (only current issue)

Periodical back issues

Along with contemporary periodicals we keep a vast collection of periodicals many dating from the 19th century. Search here.


How can I help? Donate a book.