Format: 33 x 45 centimeters Pages: 272 Paper: 220 grams, specifically created at the Cartiere Miliani Fabriano with a particular composition enriched with vegetable fibers that reproduces the fibers that reproduces the characteristics of antique paper. This process guarantees that the work will last for centuries. Binding: entirely sewn by hand and bound in leather with embossments and gold leaf insignias. Case: wooden sleeve with walnut finishings and embossed leather trimmings. Iconography: 71 illustrative plates of which 60 are in color.
This edition is the first Italian version of Marco Polo’s legendary voyage which he undertook at the end of the thirteenth century. Il Milione, which circulated in manuscript form throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, was soon after forgotten. Only at the end of the sixteenth century did the first printed editions appear translated from French. Following this volume’s integral text of Il Milione there is one of the abridged sixteenth century texts which was printed in Venice at the end of the 1500s-- a kind of pocket-edition from that time period. The iconographic ornamentation consists of miniatures borrowed from the following sources: the original French text of Il Milione which is currently preserved at the Paris National Library; previously unpublished antique geographic maps, the famous portolani reproduced from the originals and conserved in the Biblioteca del Museo Correr di Venezia; miniatures and printed materials of Oriental costumes; images of fantastic animals reproduced from the medieval bestiaries, which were contemporary to Marco Polo (these originals are now in possession of the Istituto Ellenico di Venezia, the Biblioteca Armena and private collections). The preface of the text is an essay by Alvise Zorzi which recounts the extraordinary adventure of Marco Polo, and also describes the pertinent relationship between East and West. Fabrizio Lollini presents a study on the iconographic sources, while Marcello Brusegan is the author of an introductory note to the sixteenth century edition. The volume is edited by Monica Centanni. Marco Polo’s Testament This volume, the most complete and valuable Il Milione ever published, is accompanied by Marco Polo’s testament, reproduced on parchment and exactly identical to the original which is conserved at the Marciana National Library of Venice. One unique trace of Marco Polo’s legendary voyages remains in the antique testament: the remembrance of a “Tartar slave” named Pietro who was freed and to whom Marco Polo left his inheritance of “one hundred lire of small coins”.
Alvise Zorzi, researcher and essayist; Fabrizio Lollini, one of the most talented Italian researchers of History of the Miniature and Iconology at the University of Bologna; Marcello Brusegan, medievalist, director of the Ancient Texts Department of the Marciana National Library in Venice; Monica Centanni, teacher for the department of Conservation of Cultural Heritage at the University Ca’ Foscari of Venice.
The volume was edited in collaboration with the Marciana National Library di Venezia and with the Correr Museum of Venice.