Health Editor’s Note: I have been there more than once. Even got lost in Venice one late night. Venice is an awesome place to visit, that is if it is not under water..See earlier post… Carol
14th-Century Illustration of Venice Is the Oldest Found Yet
By Theresa Machemer/Smithsonianmag.com
Friar Niccolò da Poggibonsi began his travelogue with a prayer. Per a modern translation, he asked that God and all God’s saints “bestow their grace” so he might accurately describe all the holy sites, “in order and without misstep,” that he had visited over the past four years.
After departing Venice in 1346, the Franciscan friar ventured to Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo and Alexandria, writes researcher Kathryn Blair Moore in the journal Renaissance Quarterly. Niccolò took notes on gesso tablets while he traveled, and when he returned to Venice in 1350, wrote down his full firsthand account. The oldest manuscript of the work and its illustrations, titled Libro d’Oltramare, now resides in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence.
It was here that Sandra Toffolo, a scholar of Renaissance Venetian history at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, noticed an illustration showing the Italian city’s characteristic buildings, canals and gondolas. The illustration is the oldest drawing of Venice yet discovered, excluding maps, the oldest of which dates to 1330 and was created by Fra Paolino, another Venetian Franciscan friar.