The Magistral Library is the principal library of the Sovereign Order of Malta and represents one of the world’s most complete collections of its history.
It came into being in the second half of the 19th century as a collection of books donated by various members of the Order of Malta, and today houses approximately 20,000 volumes, 40,000 photographs, over 500 manuscripts and hundreds of maps and prints. The collection covers history, heraldry and genealogy, among other subjects.
The oldest piece in the collection is a Bull dated 1332 and signed by Pope John XXII. Within the Library are the Magistral Archives holding documents for the admission of the Order of Malta’s members, with records dating from its arrival in Rome in the eighteenth century, and the Grand Magistry’s historic archives since 1950. Together the archives cover almost one linear mile of shelving.