Firenze, Giuseppe Manni, 1701.
8vo [172 x 103 mm] of lxxxxviii pp., (1) l., 166 pp., (1) l., 395 pp., (1) p. Small restored tear in the white margin of the title-page not affecting the text. Bound in contemporary stiff vellum, spine ribbed with the title handwritten at the head, mottled edges. Contemporary binding.
First edition of the fascinating account of the circumnavigation undertaken by the Florentine Francesco Carletti from 1594 to 1606. Brunet, I, 1580; Sabin 10908; Palau 44236.
“The first part relates entirely to the West Indies. In the ‘Archivio storico ital. Append., ix. 53-55’, is a letter of Fernando Carli dated 4 Agosto 1524, relating to the late American discoveries of Joan Verrazani”. (Sabin).
“Good account written at the beginning of the 16th century, and published long after thanks to Magalotti” (Brunet).
Francesco Carletti (1573-1636), was born in Florence in a family of great merchants. Merchant of slaves, spices, silk and exotic products, he sailed to the Americas from Seville with his father in 1594. He stopped in Japan, then in China, where he stayed several years. Once he was rich thanks to the trade, Carletti decided to come back to Europe in 1602 on a Portuguese ship with a cargo of precious goods and all of his personal effects. But off St Helena, the Dutch, at war with Portugal, boarded the ship and took possession of the entire cargo. Finally back in Florence in 1606, at the age of 32, after twelve years of peregrinations from one continent to another, from the islands of Cape Verde to Lima, from Mexico city to Nagasaki, by the Moluccas, Peru and the Philippines, returning via Macao, Goa, Holland and France, Carletti was the first one to bring cocoa and chocolate to Italy. Imprisoned in Colombia and China, witness of a mutiny on a ship in Japan, captured by Dutch pirates, this tireless and curious traveler came back to his country ruined, but rich of this knowledge that only a smart long-haul traveler can acquire.
His Ragionementi tell what was most probably the first commercial circumnavigation of the globe made by a private individual using the local means of transport. Indubitably for political reasons, the work remained unpublished for almost a century. This travel account isn’t a log book as the numerous notes taken by Carletti during his expedition were lost in the shipwreck. All the account was thus written a posteriori. Between Carlotti’s return (1606) and the presumed date of completion of the Ragionementi (1615) nine years went by. Carletti probably used these nine years to take time to consult works to give substance to his narration, and he must also have taken into account the oral reports he had made to the grand duke of Tuscany when he got back.
“When he got back, Carletti writes a long account for his lord Ferdinando I de’ Medici. Resulting from an attentive and curious observation, this text is the most beautiful travel account of the Italian literature. Carletti’s language anticipates the great trend of the 17th century scientific prose, but at the same time shows a great “Florentine” vivacity that is somewhat reminiscent of the one in Boccaccio’s tales. This text renders the quite accurate portrait of a world still mainly unknown in Europe, except for Portugal.”
A very beautiful copy of this text considered as the most beautiful travel account of the Italian literature, preserved in its elegant contemporary vellum binding.