The pigments used in five important medieval illuminated manuscripts (Ms. Pal.6; Ms. Pal. 159; Ms. Pal. 212; Ms. Parm. 1650; Ms. Parm. 3063), all held in the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma (Italy), were analysed in situ by portable micro-Raman instruments supplied by Renishaw and Horiba Jobin-Yvon. In spite of a strong fluorescence background, different pigments were identified and important information on the pigment palette used in the manuscript illumination, helpful to clarify the history of the artworks, was obtained. Differences in the pigments used, suggesting late interventions, were found. In particular, an addition was identified in the Ms. Pal. 212 manuscript (Bruges—15th century), and late interventions were found in the coat of arms of Barbara of Brandenburg in her breviary (Ms. Pal. 6). A different origin for some rubrics and illumination was found in Ms. Parm. 3063, a 12th century Psalter, whereas common palettes for the different artists were confirmed for Ms. Parm. 1650 and for Ms. Pal. 159. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.