Italian Viticulture and the Raising of Other Fruit at the End of the 16th Century


(Venetia: Bartolomeo Carampello, 1593). 202 x 142 mm. (8 x 5 3/4"). 4 p.l., 1-42, 51-54 (i.e. 43-46), 47-71, [3] leaves (misnumbered but complete). Second Edition.

Contemporary limp vellum, rebacked to style, flat spine with gilt titling, new endpapers. Woodcut printer's device on title page, 12 woodcut vignette headpieces showing the labor of the month, and 20 full-page woodcuts, mostly of grafting techniques, one of these repeated three times. Simon BB II, 117; Wellcome I, 1164; Mortimer, Italian 95; STC Italian, p. 132. Boards a little soiled and rumpled, otherwise a fine copy, the text very clean and fresh with only the most insignificant imperfections, and in a neatly restored binding.

First printed the preceding year, this popular Italian work on gardening tools and techniques promises to explain all one needs to know to have the perfect kitchen garden, including the proper way to plant and graft trees. The present edition was expanded to 78 chapters from the 64 that appeared in the 1592 version, and the text also includes a revision of Bussato's 1578 work on graftings. Ravenna agronomist Marco Bussato (fl. 1578-98) resided in one of the most fertile regions of Italy, where the production of orchard fruits and wine grapes were important industries. Successful grafting techniques are key to the production of these crops, and Bussato's work would have been a valuable reference, especially with its clear illustrations showing how to cut and tie grafts. Simon notes that the author also addresses the wine harvest and the care that must be taken during the production of wine. At the end of the book is a gardener's calendar, discussing tasks for each month. In the tradition of the book of hours, each month features a vignette showing the labor of the month. The "Giardino" was reprinted in 1599 and 1612. All editions are uncommon, and the 1593 printing appears less often than the other issues, with just one other copy sold at auction in the past 40 years (in 1999, a stained and foxed copy fetched a hammer price of $1,400).

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PJP Catalog: RBMS17.014