BLONDUS, Flavius (1392-1463). Italia illustrata. Edited by Gaspar Blondus (1423/43-1493). Rome: Johannes Philippus de Lignamine, 5 December 1474.
Super-chancery 2° (315 x 220mm). Collation: [110 28 3-710 88 910 108 11-1810] (1/1 blank, 1/2r chapter summaries, 2/7v register, 2/8 blank, 3/1 editor's letter to Paulus Zane, Bp. of Brescia, 3/2r text, 18/10r colophon, 18/10v blank). 174 leaves. 34 lines. Type: 1*:125R. 6-10-line initial spaces with early ink guide-letter, 16th-century foliation. Some pinholes visible. (First and last few leaves expertly repaired at hinge, small offsetting of rubrication on 6/10v.) Near-contemporary Roman light brown goatskin over thin pastboard tooled in blind with arabesque and foliate tools [cf. De Marinis 441, 553 for tools], sides with central lozenge, spine with fillets in star-design, a pair of original endleaves at each end, lifted to reveal 15th-century Italian paper leaves of Panormitanus, Decretals, author's name lettered on fore-edge (missing 4 fore-edge ties, some light restorations at spine, corners and edges). Provenance: Senator Giacomo Bovio of Bologna, 1514 (inscription at end; marginal annotations) -- Johannes Fabritius Padoani (inscription at end) -- Alessandro Padoani (16/17th-century collector and man of science; inscription on front flyleaf) -- 17th-century inscription at front.
FIRST EDITION of the first systematic topography of Italy, the first modern work to apply the name Italy to the whole Italian peninsula. Widely considered the father of modern historiography and archaeology, Biondo correlates accounts from the classical era with those of the middle ages and of his own contemporary times, linking 'the greatness of ancient Rome to the emergent greatness of modern Italy' (Hist. Dictionary of the Renaissance). He displays great erudition, citing a wide variety of authors and offering opinions on famous figures such as Petrarch, Boccaccio and Cosimo de' Medici. Italia Illustrata not only contributes much to our knowledge of Italy, its topography and monuments of the 15th century but also epitomises the humanist 'ad fontes', back to the source, and is an important work for the reception of classical antiquity in the Renaissance. Giacomo Bovio, who owned this copy in 1514, was a Senator from Bologna whose term is commemorated in a monument in the east wall of the Palazzo Senatorio at Rome. RARE; no copy has been sold at auction in over a century. HC 3246; BMC IV, 33 (IB. 17410-11); GW 4421; CIBN B-496; IGI 1758; Bod-inc B-356; Goff B-700.