This prestigious institution was founded in 1808 in a former Lateran convent. Many key figures in Italian music studied here - although, funnily enough, the young Giuseppe Verdi was rejected - and it still plays a fundamental role in Italian musical life today. There are two concert halls: the smaller Sala Puccini for chamber music, and the bigger Sala Verdi for symphonic and choral music, both with reasonably varied programmes. The library (free entry) houses over 35,000 volumes and 460,000 musical works, including manuscripts by Mozart, Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi. Rare string instruments are housed in glass cases along the corridor.