RUSCELLI, Girolamo (ca 1500 -1566). Toscana Nuova Tavola. Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1561.

$ 250.00

Single sheet (9 x 12 4/8 inches, full margins, showing the plate mark). Fine engraved map of Tuscany in Italy by Giulio and Livio Sanuto.

First state of this very early map of Tuscany from Ruscelli's edition of Ptolemy's "La Geografia", essentially an enlarged version of Giacomo Gastaldi's atlas of 1548.

In the sixteenth century, Italy was at the forefront of cartographic development and discovery. This was due to a number of different factors: Italy's geographical position in the center of the Mediterranean, the skill and daring of Italian explorers, and the tradition of craftsmanship of the peninsula's artisans. Many of the most important early explorers were Italian, from Marco Polo to Columbus, Vespucci to Verrazzano. Italy was also the first to revive an interest in classical geography during the Renaissance, and the first editions of Ptolemy were printed in Rome, Bologna, and Florence. Venice, in particular, was a center of cartographic activity. Venetian ships made regular trading voyages to the Levant and into the Black Sea, to the ports of Spain and Portugal, and along the coasts of Western Europe.

Venetian mapmaking reached its highest point between about 1540 and 1570. At this time the art was still in its infancy -- the earliest printed map had been published in 1472, and the first atlas in 1477, but these had been crude attempts based on the geographical work of the second-century geographer Ptolemy. Giacomo Gastaldi dominated the output of these publishers, his superb, innovative work marking the debut of the Italian school. His 1548 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography was the most comprehensive atlas of the time and it is, therefore, not surprising that other mapmakers, such as Ruscelli, used some of Gastaldi’s maps as models for their own.

Thus, Ruscelli’s “Toscana Nuova Tavola” is based upon Gastaldi’s 1548 map of the same region. Gastaldi's monumental map of Italy "Il Disegno della Geografia Moderna de Tvtta la Provincia de la Italia con le sue regioni, citta, castella, mo[n]ti, laghi, fiumi, mari, golfi, porti, capi, et isole", was published in Venice in 1561. For more information about this map, or a warm welcome to see it and other books in our library at 72nd Street, NYC, please contact Caleb Kiffer, in the Rare Book Department