Riding the wave


Naval Museum - Venice
5 - 22 September 2008
The Gulf of Venice: Adriatic Sea Ancient Maps from the 15th to the 19th century
Collection Gianni Brandozzi

"The letter that Cassiodorus wrote to the tribuni maritimorum in 537, to encourage the transport of oil and wine from the coast of Istria to Ravenna, underlines the maritime vocation of the Venetians. Their consciousness of this condition soon led them to trade with the hinterland, sailing up the channels and rivers that run through the territory. The ability to control the markets of the medieval Mediterranean trade (Greece, Black Sea, Aegean islands, Middle East, Egypt, Tunis, Bugie and Ceuta) allowed the Venetian boats to reach the Byzantine markets and consolidate trade throughout the Adriatic ports. "

With this introduction ARES Association, in collaboration with the Cultural Association Giov@ne Europa, presented in Venice (5-22 September 2008) the exhibition Gulf of Venice, Adriatic Sea Ancient Maps from the 15th to the 19th century.

The exhibition, held at the Naval Historical Museum - with the sponsorship of the Veneto Region, the Province of Venice and the Army Geographic Institute of Florence, and with the co-operation of the Navy and the Province of Venice - was focused on part of the collection of Gianni Brandozzi, who published the catalog, with reproductions of 45 charts and the introductory texts of the lecturers.

The inauguration, in the premises of the picturesque naval dockyards, was opened by Cdr G. Guiduzzi, director of the Naval Museum, together with Gianni Brandozzi and Mario Rosso, President of the ARES Association. Followed the lectures by Marco Belogi, Officer Geographer of the Army Engineers Corps (the maps of the Military Geographical Institute available to the national and international scientific community), of Paola Presciuttini, head-librarian of the Italian Navy Hydrographic Institute (The charts of the Gulf of Venice in the collections of the Navy Hydrographic Institute, and David Busato, researcher, (Travel and shipping routes in the Middle Ages.)

From the left: Gianni Brandozzi, Maria Gabriella Cocco (President of the Associazione di colllezionisti italiani di cartografia antica "Roberto Almagią"), Paola Presciuttini and Vladimiro Valerio

From the catalog we have selected some of the exhibits (which included several sheets of the rare chart of the Mediterranean by Joseph Roux).

The Peutinger map is thought to be a medieval copy of an itinerarium from the late Roman Empire - probably itself a copy of an earlier map - which belonged in the 16th century to the German humanist Konrad Peutinger. The Brandozzi collection includes the printed reproduction by Dominicus Podocatharus, made in the second half of 1700.

Italian wind rose to 32 winds, 1477, 466x610 mm.
Ink manuscript dating to the time of geographic discovery, when charts were not equipped with meridians and parallels.
Fascinating and highly decorative roses indicated wind directions, which were essential to trace the route.

Sebastian Muenster
Tabula italiae in Cosmographia Universale, 1542.
Ptolemaic chart carved in wood

Abraham Ortelius
Italiae veteris specimen, Antwerp 1595
copper engraving, 490x350 mm
J. Blaeu
Kingdom of Naples in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Sive Atlas Novus,
Amsterdam 1640, 515x395 mm
John Speed
Italy in Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World, Amsterdam 1676, 523x393 mm
N. Visscher
Map of Italy, Corsica, Sardinia and adjacent Realms in Atlas contractus Orbis Terrarum, Amsterdam 1666, copper engraving, 560x470 mm
Chart indicating military districts of the Kingdom of Italy, 1884, printed on silk, 585x548 mm
Photographic service by Massimo Giacinto of Fotoart catalogazioni,whom we gratefully thank.