It was Annibale De Leo (1739-1814) who founded the first public library of Terra d’Otranto in Brindisi in 1798. In it the approximately 6,000 volumes of its private collection merged with subsequent purchases. In his will he prescribed that it was for public use and placed in the rooms on the ground floor of the Archbishop’s Palace of Brindisi and administered by the archbishops pro tempore.
The library preserves a rare and unique book heritage made up of manuscripts including parchment, incunabula, precious and five hundred ligatures. Since the age of the fifties of the twentieth century, important donations have been made to reconstruct the history of the city and southern Italy.
The Library has been recognized by the CEI as a secular-ecclesial cultural institution among the oldest in the South and the oldest in Salento.