Only Known Example of this Early Rendition of Brindisi
Magnificent woodcut engraving of the city of Brindisi by Francesco di Salo in 1538. This map was made to commemorate the return of the Genoese prince Andrea Doria's fleet from the 1538 battle of Preveza.
This exactingly designed plan shows the natural horseshoe-shaped port of Brindisi which opens up onto the Adriatic Sea. The city itself sits on a wide peninsula, and numerous fortifications are shown, including a gate across the bay. At sea, galleys row towards the bay and are labeled "Arma de Andrea Doria."
Brindisi is located in Apulia, in southern Italy. The city's location and easily defensible port made it an important city on the Adriatic, and it was conquered and reconquered multiple times by various empires. It continues to be one of the foremost cities in southernmost Italy.
Andrea Doria and the Battle of Preveza
This map refers to the army of Andrea Doria, and its 1538 date suggests that this map was made to commemorate the Battle of Preveza in northwestern Greece. This battle was an attempt by Pope Paul III to repulse Turkish encroachment in the eastern Mediterranean, but the Italian armies were defeated, and the battle is considered one of the Ottoman Empire's great victories. This battle resulted in the loss of many Venetian outposts and was heralded by the decline of this once great city-state.
Despite this failure (which some attribute to Venetian-Genoese rivalry), Andrea Doria was a successful military leader who was responsible for numerous victories well into his 70's. Earlier in his life, he liberated Genoa from French rule and was given the title "Liberator and Father of his Country."
Francesco di Salo
Francesco di Salo (signed Francesco Tommaso di Salo) was a typographer active in Venice in the middle of the 16th century. Son of Tommaso and the brother of Alessandro, Francesco di Salo oftentimes worked with unidentified partners. As stated by Italian cartographic scholars Stefano Bifolco and Fabrizio Ronca:
"Little is known about this publisher who often signed his name with the imprint In Venetia: per Francesco de Tomaso di Salo e compagni, in Frezzaria, al segno della Fede. "According to Reinach, the printing house would have been active since 1550, but more scholars agree on the period 1564-1574. The dates, however, are at odd with some works published in our catalog; the plan of Brindisi, for example, bears the date 1538."
As such, this present map shows that di Salo was active early in the high period of Venetian engraving.
This map is from the small collection of works first obtained by the Hungarian scholar Tibor Szathmary in 1987. This map was then sold separately to Fritz Hellwig, where it resided in his famous collection.