We owe some of the survival of medieval illuminated manuscripts to the Medici family of Florence. During the 14thcentury, Cosimo de Medici of Florence, Italy, traveled widely in his career as a banker, businessman and political puppeteer. Illuminated manuscripts were one of his passions. Generally in Italy, monasteries that produced and decorated the hand-written books were in a state of disrepair. They had no ability to maintain conditions in their dilapidated libraries. Cosimo sought out monastic libraries on his travels, buying, rescuing and repairing more than 150 illuminated codices, incunaboli, manuscripts and parchments. He gave them a home in his personal library, which was added to by his descendents and opened to the citizens of Florence. He is responsible for saving a treasure trove of beautiful manuscripts.
Visit the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana now, or better yet, in person. Of note, the Reading Room of the Biblioteca was designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti.