The digital edition of Fra Mauro’s world map created by the Museo Galileo in collaboration with the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice and the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has been launched on March 19 at the Venetian institution.
On the same occasion the new Biblioteca Marciana permanent exhibition—which includes the only original copy of Fra Mauro’s world map—has been presented to the press and authorities.
Made in the Camaldolese monastery of San Michele in Isola, Venice, around 1450, the globe—which is one of the most fascinating cartographic works dating back to the 15th century—represents a bridge between medieval geographical knowledge and the exploration and commercial projects that would lead to the discovery of the New World and to the circumnavigation of Africa a few decades later. The geographical representation is enriched by more than 3000 cartouches, many place names and hundreds of images of cities, temples, roads, ships, as well as a beautiful terrestrial paradise illuminated by Leonardo Bellini. The Italian government would have liked to present the work at the Universal Exhibition to be held in Rome in 1492 as an eloquent example of Italy’s contribution to the great geographical explorations, and commissioned therefore a facsimile reproduction that is now on display at Museo Galileo.
The digital edition, which is curated by Filippo Camerota and Angelo Cattaneo, is available in three languages—Italian, English and Chinese (traditional and simplified)—and is open access through a dedicated website that allows detailed multimedia exploration of the work.
The project was made possible thanks to a FISR project funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research.