The ‘Malghesi’ and Parmesan cheese

Gallo, Agostino (1499-1570).

Le vinti giornate dell’agricoltura et de’ piaceri della villa di M. Agostino Gallo, delle quali, sette non sono più state date in luce, et tredici di nuovo son ristampate con molti miglioramenti. Venice, Grazioso Peraccino, 1569.

Gallo, Agostino (1499-1570) Le vinti giornate dell’agricoltura et de’ piaceri della villa di M. Agostino Gallo, delle quali, sette non sono più state date in luce, et tredici di nuovo son ristampate con molti miglioramenti. Grazioso Peraccino, 1569.

4° (218x158 mm). Collation: *8, **4, A-Z8, Aa-Ee8. [24], 447, [1] pages. Roman and italic type. Title-page within ornamental woodcut border. Woodcut printer's device on the verso of the last leaf. Woodcut portrait of the author on the verso of the title-page, and nineteen full-page woodcut illustrations in the text. Contemporary limp vellum. Traces of ties. Smooth spine, at the top the number '1440' inked on a paper lettering-piece, and below the early shelfmark 'N 521' on another paper label. A very fine copy with wide margins.

Provenance: Count Thun-Hohenstein Tetschen (ex-libris on the front flyleaf).

The first edition of the definitive and significantly enlarged version of one of the most important Renaissance treatises on agriculture, presented here in a fine copy in its original vellum binding.

Gallo's work had first appeared in Brescia in 1564 under the title Le dieci giornate ('The ten days'), comprising only ten Books, it was reprinted in Venice by Niccolò Bevilacqua in 1566 in an augmented edition expanded to include thirteen Books. In 1569 Percacino published separately the Books 14-20, before issuing the complete text in twenty books or Giornate in the same year.

The work is written in the form of a dialogue between two gentlemen from Brescia, Giovan Battista Avogadro, owner of an estate in Borgo Poncarale (as with the author), and Vincenzo Maggio, his guest. In the eleventh Book, dedicated to breeding and dairy farming, Gallo introduces the character of Scaltrito, an expert 'Malghese' who buys hay for Avogadro. The 'Malghesi' were herdsmen of cattle, sheep, and goats, who used to bring their herds up to the mountain pastures in the Alps during the summer time. The detailed description that Scaltrito gives of the manufacture of matured cheese (a real compendium of dairy technique) corresponds precisely to the methods used today to make Parmesan cheese.

B.IN.G. 875; Ceresoli 263; Paleari Henssler 189; Westbury 110; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 143.

$ 2.900
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