The First Copy of the Divine Comedy in Foligno
On April 11th 1472 Foligno saw the first ever printed edition of Dante Alighieri's Divine comedy. The printing was carried out by the master printer Johann Numeister, from Mainz, and Evangelista Angelini from Trevi, with the collaboration of the Foligno minter Emiliano Orfini. The city of Foligno celebrates this event with a series of interesting events.
A Bit of History
After the sacking of Mainz in 1462 many German printers fled to Italy, drawn by the wealth and cultural advancement of the states in the peninsula, and hopeful that they would find financers for their new ‘artem artificialiter scribendi’.
By 1463 Johann Numeister, a pupil of Johann Gutemberg's, was in the city of Foligno with some of his colleagues, working as a copier of manuscripts. In Foligno Numeister found the financial backing for his secret art in two noble businessmen, the brothers Mariotto and Emiliano Orfini. Thanks to his experience working as goldsmith and minter for the Vatican, Emiliano used his skills as an engraver to carve the letters that were to be used for the printing press.
In 1470 they published ‘De bello italico adversus Gothos’ by Leonardo Bruni, and a year later ‘Epistolae ad familiares’ by Cicero. On April 11th 1472 they produced the first edition of the Divine Comedy.
Studies have shown that the original used for the Foligno edition of Dante's work is a 14th century manuscript in the seminary library of Belluno. Known as Lolliano 35, the manuscript belongs to the Danti del Cento group of manuscripts of the Divine Comedy.
Celebrations run during the month of many and consist of a reading of some of the canti in the Divine Comedy.
For information concerning the yearly programme, contact the Biblioteca Comunale, Piazza del Grano 06034 Foligno.
Tel. (+39) 0742.350.734/330.284 Fax (+39) 0742.340.496 (Tuesdays to Fridays 9am-1pm/3-7pm Mondays 3-7pm Saturdays 9am-1pm.
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