Transcription and decoration of manuscripts in the ancient Imperial fiefdom of Farfa. Innovation and uniqueness in manuscript production in the Farfa scriptorium.
The Abbey of Santa Maria di Farfa was founded around the middle of the 6th century. Situated between the Sabina Hills and the countryside round Rieti, it was destroyed by Lombards and then by Saracens, and rebuilt on various occasions. In 775 it was granted an imperial privilege by Charlemagne. Between the 9th and 11th centuries, its scriptorium – where the celebrated historian and scribe Gregory of Catino worked – produced exquisite manuscripts and gave rise to a style of writing known as “romanesca farfense”. The library of the National Monument of Farfa today houses a collection of manuscripts and printed books which was put together when the monastery was refounded in the 1920s. The extraordinary riches of the original collection have been in large part dispersed; books and manuscripts from the library in Farfa can be found in the national library in Rome and in other libraries in Italy and the rest of Europe.