Sezione Storica – Fondo Cartografico Losardo – Sala IX (Tav. XII)

  • Regno di Napoli (1620) (Hall IX)  (pl. XII)

The importance of this map, made by Giovanni Antonio Magini, lies in the comprehensive selection work done to create it, which distinguishes it completely from the previous prints based on the works of Pirro Ligorio and Gastaldi. This is, in fact a patient selection of several regional maps produced until then; Gastaldi’s Apulia made in 1567, Bonifacio’s Abruzzo made in 1587 and Parisio’s Calabria dated 1589 (printed), the paintings of Egnatio Danti in the Vatican Gallery and, above all, the atlas made by Mario Cartaro and Niccolò Antonio Stigliola, of which some copies are still available. The author, Giovanni Antonio Magini (1555-1617), was an accomplished Italian mathematician, astronomer, and cartographer. As a cartographer, his name is linked to the aforementioned Atlas Italia, which was published three years after his untimely death. Consisting of a short descriptive collection of only 24 maps, the work is accompanied by 61 maps of the peninsula, and is reputed to be the first Italian atlas. All the drafts of the maps were published before 1620, and then subsequently corrected and updated for the final edition. For the realization of the plates, Magini relied on two engravers, who were among the most famous of the time: the Belgian Arnoldo Arnoldi and the English Benjamin Wright. All the maps of the peninsula are taken from the work of the mathematician from Padua.

The map in question is a magnificent impression (480×390 mm), with marginal graduation, 50-miles metric scale, in fairly good condition. The map is dedicated to Antonio de’ Medici. Engraved by Benjamin Wright (his name appears under the scale), the work is taken from the first edition of the L’Italia, published posthumously in 1620 by his son Fabio. The administrative boundaries are very accurate and the inland provinces are represented in the cartouche by means of coats of arms (Abruzzo Ultra and Citra, Terra di Bari, Terra di Otranto, Calabria Ultra and Calabria Citra, Terra di Lavoro, Principato Ultra and Citra, Basilicata, Capitanata and Contado di Molise), in a sequence that Prospero Parisio had already used in his map of the Kingdom of Naples. The cartouche also shows the effigies of St. Thomas (left) and St. Francis of Paola (right).