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A rare map of Italy by Melchior Tavernier, which appeared in Pierre D'Avity's Nouveau Theatre Du Monde. The map shows Italy and the surrounding area in detail, with all major rivers, towns, cities, and borders labeled. Italy is divided according to its many city-states, including the Kingdom of Naples, the Papal States, Florence, Genoa, Venice, and more. Parts of France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia are visible and detailed.

A decorative cartouche is included, and a shell contains a scale bar in Italian and French miles. The cartouche includes a short note about Tavernier's publishing business and his allegiance to the King of France.

Seventeenth-century Italy was still a long way from unification. The Thirty Years War, which would finish eight years after the completion of this map, placed large economic pressure on the peninsula. Many city-states were controlled by European powers, including Naples by Spain and parts of northern Italy by the Holy Roman Empire. Several wars would repeatedly alternate this foreign control of the city-states.

Melchior Tavernier Biography

Melchior Tavernier was a member of a large family involved in the publishing trade in Paris in the early years of the seventeenth century. Early in his career, he apparently collaborated with Henricus Hondius, as at least one of his early maps references Tavernier as the seller of a map engraved in Amsterdam, by Hondius. He is probably best known for his publication of a map of the Post Roads of France, which was copied many times until the end of the century. He also issued an atlas under the same title as J. le Clerc's Theatre Geographique, using many of Le Clerc's maps, but incorporating others from different sources. He published composite atlases and also published works for other cartographers, including N. Sanson, N. Tassin, and P. Bertius. He is not to be confused with his nephew of the same name (1594-1665), who also engraved maps for Nicolas Sanson.