Preserving history for the future with the Vatican Library

The Vatican Library is working with Piql to safely preserve and protect some of their most valuable historic manuscripts for future generations.

The Vatican Library is working with Piql to safely preserve and protect some of their most valuable historic manuscripts for future generations.

As one of the oldest and important libraries in the world, it contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts, including 75,000 codices and 1.1 million printed books. Formally established by Pope Nicholas V in 1475, the Library began a digitisation project in 2010 to preserve their collection of manuscripts for the future and make them available to the public online.

Our dream is to convert our historic manuscripts to Piql, and thus be able to give this information to the next generations and to the future.

Luciano Ammenti, Vatican Library


For 500 years, the Vatican Library has fulfilled its fundamental purpose of gathering, preserving and restoring its patrimony of books and documents to make them available to all. It holds some of the oldest and most sacred texts including notes by artists and scientists such as Michelangelo and Galileo, as well as treaties from all eras in history.

This task of preservation and access has been demanding because the consultation of ancient books naturally causes wear, with the risk of deterioration increasing over time. However, the Vatican is very clear that providing free access to its collections to scholars from around the world is a mandate it would never fail to deliver.

A secure, long term solution was needed to ensure that this history is not lost for future generations.

In a world where everything happens so fast but doesn’t last for long, the Vatican Library needed a solution that would ensure timeless preservation. Online for accessibility but offline for absolute safety.


Piql shares the same vision as the Vatican Library regarding long-term digital preservation and guaranteed future access. Piql’s philosophy and ability to transfer information and culture to the future appealed to the Vatican Library, along with the reliability of the Piql system.

The eternal nature of film, combined with its future-proof accessibility made it the optimal choice over other storage mediums.

The Vatican Library invited Piql to demonstrate the technology through the delivery of a pilot project. The priceless and well-known Dante Alighieri’s “La Divina Commedia” was chosen. Preserved on PiqlFilm, the manuscript is now stored safely in Piql’s Artic World Archive on Svalbard, Norway.

Following the success of the pilot project, the Vatican Library have decided to digitize 500 irreplaceable documents of great historical value and ensure preservation and accessibility for coming generations for 500 years. Manuscripts were selected by the Vatican Library based on their historical and cultural value, and the risk the of deterioration and permanent loss. The project includes the preservation of documents such as a text written by Luke the Evangelist and a hand-written version of the Coran.

The project is kindly supported by SCG Chemicals, a leading petrochemical company in Asia and research partner of Piql.