The Malatestiana Library (Italian: Biblioteca Malatestiana), also known as the Malatesta Novello Library, is a public library in Cesena, Emilia-Romagna (Italy). It was the first European civic library, i.e. belonging to the Commune and open to everybody. It was commissioned by the Lord of Cesena, Malatesta Novello. The works were directed by Matteo Nuti from Fano (a scholar of Leon Battista Alberti) and lasted from 1447 to 1452.
The Malatestiana Library is the only one in the world, of the type called humanistic-conventual, which has preserved structure, fittings and codexes since its opening for more than 550 years. The main doorway was the work of Agostino di Duccio (1418-1481). The wonderful walnut door dates back to 1454 and was carved by Cristoforo da San Giovanni in Persiceto.
Inside, the library shows its geometric design, typical of the early Italian Renaissance. The aula has a basilical shape ("temple of culture"), with three naves which are divided by ten rows of white, local stone columns; the campates are eleven for each aisle, pole vaulted. The central nave is barrel vaulted and ends with a rose under which is the gravestone of Malatesta Novello.
The fittings are composed of 58 desks, with coat of arms at the sides. The light comes in through the 44 Venetian style windows, which were perfectly designed for reading. Inside are conserved 340 precious codexes. The 340 books cover various fields such as religion, Greek and Latin classics, sciences and medicine. The oldest manuscript in the library is a copy of Isidore's Etymologiae.
In 2005 UNESCO included the Library in the Memory of the World Programme Register.