The property is located in the gardens of Villa d'Este, a UNESCO world heritage site located in two local areas in the square opposite the Fountain dell’Ovato. The central hall is equipped with descriptive information panels (in Italian and English) on the book culture of the region: "Cult of the Sibylline books", the "library of Tibur ", "Magistri papermaking Tivoli from fifteenth to the nineteenth century", "The Printing Press and the artisans of the book" and other displays shown in a local museum context, to illustrate that these areas are all part of the same cultural and civic fabric. The museum also conducts outside research and restoration work across the territory of Tivoli and surrounding areas.
For visitors with impaired vision, the Centre provides a specific section entitled: "Villa d'Este and the Educational Museum of the Ancient Book," in three editions: a) easily legible (large print version) for the visually impaired, accompanied by a map of Villa d'Este; b) in Braille for the blind, together with designs in relief; c) recorded in audio edition on CD and MP3 for people who are unable to read.
This is a unique initiative in the country.
Wooden tools and presses of the XVIII - XIX century, writing instruments from the Tiburtine Libraries and the Temple of Hercules and Emperor Hadrian’s famous Library are used for activitties; papyrus and parchment manuscripts from the Churches of Tivoli are involved; paper processing and printing of cotton-cloth paper is carried out, as was done in ancient Tibur in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. The idea is to create educational activities all using teaching methods that encourage the maximum participation of students.
The Villa d'Este Laboratory holds objects of great historical interest, including: Linen rolls, scrolls, codices of churches in Tivoli, parchments, incunabula, prints and watercolours of the fountains of Villa d'Este.
The centre, which promotes research through increasing interaction with other museums and universities, has worked in collaboration with the National Centre of Scientific Research in Rome, the British Museum in London, the Vatican Museums, the University of Florence, School of Papyrology of Leuven, Academy of Sciences in Washington, the Smithsonian Institution - Washington DC - USA and other prestigious institutions.
In the Villa d'Este teaching lab, there are technically and scientifically valuable documents of public interest are worked upon on behalf of institutions, museums and universities including: - Reconstruction of the book "Per Em Eru", a papyrus volumen of 11 metres in hieratic script for the Egyptian section of the Vatican Museums; - Reconstruction of the illuminated volumen in hieroglyphic writing, known as "Papyrus Kha" for the Frank H. Mc Clung Museum of the University of Tennessee, USA ; - Reconstruction of books (volumina with umbilici, codices, and ceratae and dealbatae tabulae, engravings on lead etc.) of the Imperial Library of the Emperor Hadrian's Museum of Roman Civilisation (1996).