The birth of the Biblioteca Vallicelliana is closely linked to the figure of Philip Neri and the Congregation of the oratory, established in 1565 and officially recognised by Gregory XIII in 1575 with the bull Copiosus in Mercy. The Oratorians had a focus on the books: according to rule should in fact be meals accompanied by the reading and discussion of a religious text.
The first book collection consists of works owned by Philip Neri, passed into the patrimony of the Congregation until his death in 1595.
The Biblioteca Vallicelliana is already documented in 1581 thanks to the bequest of Achilles Statius (Aquiles Estaço) in favour of Philip Neri and the Congregation of the oratory: 1700 300 printed volumes and manuscripts.
The first two you add funds subsequently other donations, such as the archive and the library part of s. Giovanni in Venere (1585); the library of Cardinal Silvio Antoniano, books by Pierre Morin an Oratorian and Juvenal, Bishop of Saluzzo, Saleem (1604); manuscripts from s. Eutizio, thanks to the intervention of Abbot James Crescenzi, and collection of Father Antonio Gallonio, first biographer of Philip Neri (1605).
The cultural activity of the oratoriana community in the 17th century is linked to the publication of the Annales Ecclesiastici of Caesar Baronius, of underground Rome by Antonio Bosio curated by Father Antonio Severano and diffusion of the oratory, music entertainment favorite spiritual form by Philip Neri who considered music anime's fishing.
In 1607, after the death of Cardinal Caesar Baronius, a part of its book collection is inherited from the library of the Congregation; In 1662 the bottom reach of Virgilio Spada, consist of a collection of coins, minerals, pottery and curiosities.
In 1669 switches to fund Library manuscript of the Greek intellectual Connections Lion, keeper of the Vatican Library, consisting of about 237 Latin and Greek manuscripts. Then forfeited the legacies of fathers Oratorians Odorico Rinaldi, James Laderchi, Giuseppe Bianchini, heir of the scholar Francesco Bianchini.
During the French occupation of Rome (1797-1799) the library was, as elsewhere, a major looting: in 1810 were lost memorabilia, 49 partly recovered during the years 1837-38.
In 1874, following the law on the Suppression of religious Corporations, the Vallicelliana was transformed into a public library; in 1876 the church axis liquidator set to split the documents of the Congregation among the State Archives of Rome, the Congregation and the library.