"We are now standing near the northern end of the long
western wing of the Vatican and looking south. Beyond the
farthest limit of this magnificent corridor are the Sistine Chapel and
The way to see the most of this magnificent distance (and, except in
the rooms nearest us, we are fortunate in having shutters open) is to
let our glance run along the sunlit marble floor as far as
possible. The room is actually a fifth of a mile long.
The cupboards or cabinets on either side of this corridor contain
valuable Greek and Roman bronzes, and oriental jewelry. How the
collector of rare, old volumes would revel here if he could come close
as he liked! This section and those beyond contain in their
numerous cabinets priceless collections of ancient books and papers,
manuscripts of the Popes, their correspondence and copies of their
public documents, as well as the records of the official business of
the Vatican. One room is filled with documents written on
On the tops of all these cabinets are curious urns, lamps, statuettes
and altar pieces, taken from ancient pyramid and crumbling tomb and
gloomy catacomb. The walls and ceilings are frescoed with scenes
from the lives of Popes and are decorated with mosaics of great value.
The library contains upwards of 26,000 manuscripts, of which about
19,000 are in Latin, 4000 in Greek and 2000 in Oriental
languages. The principal librarian is a Cardinal.
Permission to use the library can be obtained on recommendation of the
ambassador from a traveler's home country or of some learned
institution. The tables we see are for the use of such accredited
through the Stereoscope, with special
"keyed" maps locating all the standpoints taken:
published by Underwood & Underwood.
Corridor, Vatican Library, - Longest Room
in the World, Rome.