New Library acquisition: Tredici canti del Floridoro

Author: Tracy Bergstrom

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has recently acquired the following item: 

Modesta Pozzo de' Giorgi [Moderata Fonte, pseud.]  Tredici canti del Floridoro. Venice: nella stamparia de'Rampazetti, 1581.  First edition, with 13 full-page woodcuts in text.

This is the first and only edition of Tredici canti del Floridoro, the most important 16th century Italian chivalric poem by a female writer.   It was published in 1581 by the Venetian publisher Francesco Rampazetti, accompanied by sonnets by Giovanni Niccolò Doglioni, Fonte’s guardian and biographer, and by Bartolomeo Malombra and Cesare Simonetti.  The poem terminates after thirteen canti, although a dedicatory letter to the work specifies that a longer text of fifty canti was originally planned.

Fonte’s biography on the University of Chicago’s Italian Women Writers website offers the following summation of the text: 

Set in a fanciful ancient Greece, heavily inflected with chivalric values, the Floridoro recounts the adventures of the young prince Floridoro and his future bride Celsidora, putative ancestors of the Medici dynasty. A sub-plot concerns the adventures of the female knight Risamante, modeled on archetypes in Lodovico Ariosto's vastly popular Orlando Furioso (1532), whose influence is apparent more generally in the Floridoro's structure and style.

For more information about Moderata Fonte and her works, see her page on the Italian Women Writers website.