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This incunabulum (Venice: Antonio di Alessandria della Paglia 1480) is an early edition of a guidebook to Rome which on the one hand strictly follows the tradition of mirabilia texts and the descriptio urbis and on the other displays a certain individuality. The text has an independent structure, an autonomous style and displays particularities concerning interpretations of myths, legends, and historical incidents.

Presumably, the author is a clergyman who was close to the margrave of Ancona, Giovanni Visconti da Ollegio (1304 ca. - 1366). According to the author himself he compiled the guide for a visit of the margrave's wife Antonia degli Benzoni to Rome in 1363. According to Ludwig Schudt it is a compilation of three works: The author translated and revised the Graphia auerae urbis Romae, the basic Mirabilia Romae and the Descriptio plenaria.

However, the treatise is characterised by a strong personal touch. The author appears as first-person narrator and accompanies the reader on an imaginary trip through ancient Rome. The individuality of the account is provided by the sometimes ocurring emotional views on historical incidents, monuments, persons and deities as well as on quotations by Latin authors.

In some passages the author adopts the systematic cataloguing of monuments from his sources. Individual inaccuracies concerning descriptions of monuments and quotations from the sources of classical and medieval authors can however be observed. Fiction and reality are closely linked here.

This full text edition is based on the only surviving incunabulum from the British Library. The edition complies with the common rules of a diplomatic edition of an author of the Renaissance. The edition attempts to preserve the (original) text, in order to give priority to the special characteristics of the italiano volgare in the early stage of the development of written Italian.


  1. Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, hrsg. von der Kommission für den Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, Band VII, Nr. 9240. Leipzig [u.a.] 1968.
  2. Five Early Guides to Rome and Florence, with an introduction by Peter Murray. Heppenheim 1972.
  3. Schudt, Ludwig (Ed.): Le guide di Roma: Materialien zu einer Geschichte der römischen Topographie. Wien - Augsburg 1930.
  4. Schudt, Ludwig: Zwei wenig bekannte römische Stadtführer: Eine italienische Übersetzung der "Graphia aureae urbis Romae". In: Kunswissenschaftliches Jahrbuch der Görresgesellschaft, I-1928.

Editorial Guidelines


  1. Retained unchanged are:
  2. - variant forms of spelling of words with double consonants and double vowels, e.g. when appearing twice (cosa/cossa, nato/natto, opinione/oppinione, cimiteri/cimiterii, solo/sollo), single consonants distorting the meaning are replaced by double consonants, e.g. with subjunctive forms of verbs (posa by possa);

    - besides consonants and groups of consonants c, cc, g of modern Itallian the variants of Volgare (periculo/perichulo, ancora/anchora, luogo/luocho, rocca/rocha);

    - variants of uo-o (puoco/poco, puoi/poi);

    - alternating forms with vowels u/o (chusi/cosi);

    - alternate appearance of x/s in the vocables (Cexare/Cesare, marchexe/marchese), as well as variants of z/c (zimiterii/cimiterii, uzidere/ucidere), c/z (inance/inanze) and z/g (zente/gente) as well as both in one word z/c and x/s (azexa/accesa, Cesare/Zelare);

    - Rhaeto-Romanic interim variants t/d (imperadore/imperatore; nominate/nominade);

    - common Latin orthoepic rudiments in the spelling of the edition in parallel with the Italian spelling (Dicoliciano-Diclitiano, provinzie-provincie, tenpo-tempo, Sampsone-Samsone);

  3. diacritical signs are as far as possible used according to modern Iatlian (perche-perché, e-è, gia-già, nativita-natività, vo dicto-v'o dicto, chio-ch' io, also with perfetto remoto und futuro semplice - cacio-caciò, parturira-parturirà);
  4. all "u" sounds are replaced by "v" according to spelling rules of the modern edition in Latin and Italien MSS and incunabula, when in modern Italian a "v" occurs (auere/avere, but segue);
  5. the mix-up of "u" and "n" which are common with early prints are indicated with <sic>.



  1. lexical variants of vocables of the original indicating the transition from the Latin spelling to Italian spelling are being retained (i.e. for "church" - chiesia, chiexia, echlexia, giesia, giexie; for the word "man" - homo, huomo, uomo);
  2. Latin atavisms appearing in parallel with Italian variants are not being corrected (presencte/presente, sancto/santo, perfecto/perfetto, iovani/giuovani, dicto/detto);
  3. compound words are spelled separately according to rules of the modern syntax (disopra-di sopra, elpallazo-el palazzo);
  4. numbers are written in minuscules without punctuation mark;
  5. the variants of articles which occur in this phase of the development of language are being retained (el/il, del/dil, della), though prepositional articles with a single consonant are spelled separately (dela - de la, but della);
  6. variants of adverbs are being retained (denanzi/dinanzi/inanzi; ive/ivi/ibi);
  7. the articles combined with a verb (i.e. ella) are not being corrected, when they are spelled with a double consonant;
  8. all verb forms showing the linguistic transitional phase are being retained (fo/fu; furo/furono/fureno; ebbero/ebero).



  1. modern punctuation is used which is common in editions of Latin and Old Italian texts;
  2. line breaks are marked by a hyphen.


Explanations and corrections of texts:

  1. all quotations are equipped with a reference to the source.
  2. specific spellings of proper names and of toponyms are not replaced by a modern spelling and not explained in the footnotes
  3. the singular and individual names of monuments are not corrected;
  4. misapplied proper names and toponyms are marked with <sic>.
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