Insula sive Regnum Siciliae urbibus praecipuis exornatum et novissime editum
By: Frederick de Wit
Date: 1680 (circa) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 19.5 x 23 inches (59.5 x 58.5 cm)
This spectacular map of Sicily by Frederick de Wit takes much from that of de Wit’s teacher, Willem Janszoon Blaeu, but is made even more informative by the addition of the port cities which de Wit features in the five insets. The insets depict important port cities and their fortifications, including Messina, Milazzo, Palermo, Trapano, and Catania with Mount Aetna, one of Europe’s most active volcanoes, in the background.
The map is highly detailed showing settlements, villages, fortresses and castles, cities and ports. The topography of the island is rendered in detail with river systems, mountains, volcanic features, and forested areas delineated. The map is beautifully embellished with a wide variety of vessels ornamenting the main map as well as each of the insets. The title cartouche features a scroll held in place by putti, while a second very lavish cartouche includes information regarding contributors to the map. Three of the insets include lists of place names describing important architectural highlights. A decorative compass rose embellishes the map in the middle of the Sea of Sicily.
Sicily has been inhabited for at least 10,000 years, and been a crossroads of civilization for much of that time. The magnificent architecture of the palaces and churches of its towns and cities (such as Palermo, Cefalu, Taormina, Messina, Erice, and Enna) covers the Romanesque, the Norman, the Gothic, the Renaissance and the Baroque eras. Successive invasions of diverse cultures and ethnic groups over the millenia are reflected in the make-up and diversity of the population.
Condition: This hand coloured map is in B+ condition. Heavy paper with a few minor separations in the image and some thinning in places. Some archival repairs have been done on the verso.
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