One of the earliest obtainable modern maps of Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, the western coast of Asia Minor, and northern Crete, from one of the most important map makers of the 16th Century.
A good example of Gastaldi' the first edition of Gastaldi' rare two-sheet map of Greece, for which Gastaldi was granted a privilegio on July 29, 1560, at the same time as he received papal privileges for his maps of Italy and Lombardy and 2 of the 3 sheets in his map of Asia. The map of Greece was engraved by Fabio Licinio and included a separately printed index of place names, which would have been available either as a broadside or a pamphlet. While the title is similar to Nikolaos Sophianos's Totius Graeciae Descriptio, first publshed in 1544 and would certainly have been known to Gastaldi, the map is a significant departure from Sophiano's presentation and is significantly revised in certain parts of the map.
The map became the most important map of the region published in the 16th Century, and was later copied by other Lafreri School map makers including Bertelli and used by Ortelius as the source for his map. Among other things, the map provides one of the more realistic geographical maps of Macedonia, using for the first time many Macedonian place names, including the Vardar River, Skopje, Mt. Skopska Crna Gora, Tikvesh Valley, Demir Kapiya, Bitola, Kratovo, Struga, Ohrid and Ohrid Lake, Prespa and Prespa Lake, Prilep, Kostur, Lerin, Voden and Resen.
Giacomo Gastaldi (1500-1566) is considered the foremost Italian cartographer of the sixteenth century, alongside Paolo Forlani. His skills of compilation are comparable to those of Mercator and Ortelius, yet much less is known of his life than of his two contemporaries. Gastaldi was born in Villafranca, Piedmont, but had established himself in Venice by 1539. He originally worked as an engineer, but turned to mapmaking from the 1540s onward.
It was in Venice where he made his reputation as an engraver, geographer, and cosmographer; for example, he was asked to fresco maps of Asia and Africa in the Palace of the Doge, or the Council of Ten, Venice’s governmental body. He also frequently consulted on projects for the Savi sopra la Laguna, drawing maps for this body which oversaw the regulation of fresh and salt water around Venice.
His contemporaries also recognized his skill, as he was named cosmographer to the Republic of Venice, was a member of the Accademia Veneziana, and was a major source for other geographers and mapmakers including Camocio, Bertelli, Cock, Luchini, and Ortelius. He even had his own distinct style of copper engraving that made him a pioneer in his day and makes his works iconic today.
Gastaldi enjoyed an especially productive relationship with Giovanni Battista Ramusio, Secretary of the Venetian Senate, who used Gastaldi's maps for his famous travel account collection, Navigationi et Viaggi. Gastaldi also tutored Ramusio's son in cosmography.