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Biblioteca di San Barnaba

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Brody: "It looks like a converted church."
Schneider: "In this case it's the literal truth. We're on holy ground."
Elsa Schneider and Marcus Brody[src]

The Biblioteca di San Barnaba was a library on Piazza San Marco, at the site of San Barnaba, near the Canale Grande in Venice, Italy[1]. The library building was originally a medieval or Renaissance church[2], and contained columns brought back as spoils of war from the sacking of Byzantium during the Fourth Crusade. It also contained stained glass windows with images of the knights of the Crusades, and mysterious Roman numerals. The church itself had been built over the site of a monastery run by early Christian monks, who had built the catacombs that lay under the city.[3].


In 1938, Holy Grail historian Henry Jones, Sr. and Elsa Schneider went to the library to help find the tomb of one of the Grail knights, as part of an expedition financed by Walter Donovan. Jones was on the track of discovering the Knight's tomb below the church when he realized that Schneider was a Nazi agent, and sent his Grail Diary to his son for safety. Jones was then kidnapped by Nazi agents and taken to Castle Brunwald.

Donovan then hired Indiana Jones to pick up in his father's place, and the younger Jones and Marcus Brody traveled to Venice, and met Schneider, who took them to the library. She revealed a clue left behind by the senior Jones involving Roman numerals. From reading his father's diary, Indy realized that the tomb was somewhere in the church, and used the Roman numerals to find the spot to enter the catacombs. Breaking through the tiled floor with a cordon post (and puzzling a librarian with the noise), Jones discovered a way into the catacombs. While Jones and Schneider slipped below the library, Brody was ambushed by Kazim and his men from the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, who dragged Brody's unconscious body away, and then followed Jones into the underground tombs.

After finding the Knight's tomb and escaping a fire set in the catacombs by Kazim, Jones and Schneider emerged from a manhole in the piazza in front of the library. Kazim's men spied the wet pair and chased them to the docks, where the pursuit continued by motorboat.[4]

A Venetian newspaper, "La Gazzetta di Venezia" covered the damage to the library, and the speedboat chase. Indiana Jones kept a clipping of the article "Ugly American on Rampage" in his journal. The article blamed an unidentified American tourist for smashing the library floor, causing a fire below the library, and leading speedboats on a chase through the docks.[5]

Behind the scenesEdit

The exterior shots of the library are actually the Church of San Barnaba in Venice, located in the neighborhood of Campo San Barnaba, west of the Grand Canal.

The novelization of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade identifies the building as that of Marciana Library on Piazza San Marco. Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide confirms that the library is on Piazza San Marco, which is the main piazza of Venice, and home of St. Mark's Basilica, and which is located east of the Grand Canal.

The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones identifies the library as being the "library of San Barnaba" in the newspaper clipping, but the map of Venice in the journal identifies the library's location as being near The Jesuits (church) near the Cirdeca Canal (and not near the Grand Canal), and not at the location of San Barnaba on the map, or at Piazza San Marco. It is possible that Jones was mistaken when he circled the location of The Jesuits on the map.

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure, the library has several areas with stained glass windows and Roman numerals. Part of the game is selecting which windowed area matches the one in the in-game Grail diary. Also found in the library are many plaques on the ends of the shelves, which contain humorous quotes from famous library patrons, and several books that Indiana Jones can pick up and use, such as a copy of the Mein Kampf, a manual for flying a biplane, and a book of maps, containing a map of the catacombs.



Notes and referencesEdit

  1. The novelization of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade identifies the building as that of Marciana Library on Piazza San Marco, while The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones calls it the library of San Barnaba, and places it next to the Canale Grande.
  2. The Ultimate Guide refers to the church as Renaissance, while The Lost Journal calls it medieval.
  3. Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
  4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  5. The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones

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