In 1720 the Biblioteca Ducale (the Duke’s Library) became the Biblioteca Regia or Reale (the Royal Library).

Only three years later, in the context of the more general renewal of university study and following in particular a suggestion made to Vittorio Amadeo II in 1718 by Scipione Maffei (1675-1755), who urged the king to place the collections of the Libreria della Città and the enormous Biblioteca Reale in the Library of the University, thus creating a single Regia Libreria Publica (Royal Public Library).

The new library was called the Biblioteca della Regia Università (Library of the Royal University) or the Regia Biblioteca Universitaria (Royal University Library) and was inaugurated in 1723: it was housed in the building where the University had moved in 1720, the present day Rector’s office, and, as we have said, it included most of the Biblioteca Reale (previously Ducale), which contained the Hebrew collection, the University Library, which had been created in 1720, and the Libreria Civica, which had been opened to the public only 10 years earlier and contained around 4,000 volumes. The volumes from the Biblioteca Reale which did not come to be part of the big new library remained in the Palazzo Reale (the Royal Palace), in the Royal Archives.

A first catalogue of the manuscripts of the new Regia Biblioteca Universitaria was compiled by Francesco Domenico Bencini, dating back to 1732: the Hebrew manuscripts are described on pp. 2-76.

G. Pasini, Codices manuscripti Bibliothecae Regii Taurinensis Athenaei per lingua digesti ... 1749

G. Pasini, Codices manuscripti Bibliothecae Regii Taurinensis Athenaei per lingua digesti … 1749

In 1749 came the first printed catalogue of the manuscripts of the library, compiled by Giuseppe Pasini: it numbers 169 Hebrew codices and is the first printed catalogue of an Italian collection of Hebrew manuscripts: Codices manuscripti Bibliothecae Regii Taurinensis Athenaei per lingua digesti, et binas in partes distributi, in quarum prima Hebraei, et Graeci, in altera Latini, Italici et Gallici. Recensuerunt, et animadversionibus illustrarunt Josephus Pasinus Regi a consiliis Bibliothecae praeses et moderator Antonius Rivautella, et Franciscus Berta, Torino, Typographia Regia, 1749.

An Appendice al Pasini was added to update the catalogue with the subsequent additions: the Hebrew manuscripts are described on pages 2 to 34.

Etichetta della Regia Biblioteca dell'Università

Etichetta della Regia Biblioteca dell’Università

The last notable addition to the collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts was that of the library of Tommaso Valperga di Caluso. The collection, which was acquired between 1809 and 1815, was catalogued by the student Amadeo Peyron in 1820, in collaboration with Giuseppe Vernazza the university librarian, Israel Treves, and Gianantonio Arri: it listed, together with books in other languages, 132 Hebrew books, 42 of which printed, 6 incunables, and 84 manuscripts.

During the nineteenth century only one Hebrew manuscript is recorded as entering the library, besides those donated by Valperga di Caluso: a Megillat Ester acquired by Amadeo Peyron and donated by him to the library in 1815.

Of great importance is the catalogue compiled by Bernardino Peyron in 1880 because it is the last catalogue of Hebrew manuscripts made before the disastrous fire of 1904 that greatly damaged the Hebrew collections: Codices Hebraici manu exarati Regiae Bibliothecae quae in Taurinensi athenaeo asservatur, Romae-Taurini-Florentiae, Fratres Bocca, 1880.

Bernardino Peyron was also responsible for compiling an inventory of the Hebrew printed books, which is unedited and preserved in the library’s deposit with the pressmark R.I.7 (1852-1853): Catalogus librorum Hebraicorum digestus a Bernardino Peyrono annis MDCCCXLII-III.