Antiquarian booksellers in Venice


Precious old books and rare manuscripts on display in the Serenissima

From 10 to 12 February at the Palazzo Pisani Revedin Cultural Center the exhibition-market “Antiquarian booksellers in Venice” will present an exceptional selection of rarities for the first time in the Serenissima.

Thirty prestigious antiquarian bookshops from all over Italy but also from Germany, England, France, Holland, Austria and Ireland will exhibit ancient books, illuminated manuscripts, incunabula, manuscripts and unobtainable first editions for the delight of bibliophiles, scholars and art lovers who will enrich their collections with pieces of great value.

Da Venezia alla Terrasant

Also on display are the original editions and memoirs of Giacomo Casanova with volumes from private collections that will be exhibited to the public for the first time to celebrate the 200 years that have just passed since the first publication of the “Memoires” in 1822.

Nova Charta participates in this first edition of the exhibition by celebrating the twentieth anniversary of its periodical Alumina Pagine Miniate: the first and only Italian magazine dedicated entirely to the world of illuminated manuscripts, to their authors and to international libraries.

For the occasion, thanks to the Salviamo un Codice project which started in 2007 with the High Patronage of the Presidency of the Republic, the historic Venetian publishing house will exhibit, among others, important works relating to the history of the Serenissima, a city strongly linked to printing and the typographic arts for over six centuries.

Thanks to this initiative, fourteen illuminated manuscripts have been restored and then returned to their original libraries. The Nova Charta exhibition will bring the restoration notebook “From Venice to the Holy Land” of the 13th century illuminated codex Liber Secretorum Fidelium Crucis by Marin Sanudo the Elder, belonging to the Riccardiana Library in Florence, as well as the facsimile of Vincenzo Scamozzi’s travel notebook dated 1600 from the Civic Museums of Vicenza and his commentary “Travel notes from Paris to Venice”.


In addition, a commentary of great interest for the importance of the piece and the care of the work carried out will be exhibited: the one relating to the restoration of the precious binding LAT III, 111 (=2116) of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana entitled “Marcian Splendour”.

Binding of the manuscript LAT III, 111 (=2116): the commentary describes in minute detail the complex restoration of one of the five Byzantine bindings of unknown origin, which previously belonged to the treasury of the Basilica of San Marco and arrived at the Marciana at the beginning of the 19th century, ancient and careful guardian of the memory of the city.

The binding, made of precious materials and able to complement the most refined products of the ancient goldsmith’s art, is adorned with enamels, stones and pearls and protected a Roman missal from the first half of the 14th century during its arduous journey from Byzantium to Venice.

CodiceSforza LOW

From Venice to the Holy Land: the Ricc. 237 of the Riccardiana Library in Florence is the Liber Secretorum Fidelium Crucis by the Venetian Marin Sanudo the Elder, a thirteenth-century manuscript with sumptuous miniatures dedicated to the reconquest of the Holy Land. Sanudo’s work, a real obsession of his entire existence, is a treatise that examines every aspect of the question, political, military, economic and historical, revealing his in-depth knowledge of the subject and throwing a very different light on the history of the Crusades.

Travel notebook from Paris to Venice: a “pocket handbook”, bearing the date 1600, a small booklet with a long and narrow shape, 23 centimeters high and less than 9 centimeters wide, made up of 88 sheets, written in minute and very exact calligraphy and illustrated in fifteen cases by meticulous architectural drawings. It belonged to Vincenzo Scamozzi (1548-1616), an architect from Vicenza of a generation following Palladio and his polemical heir, who fortunate circumstances, even if not yet fully clarified, have led to it being part of the collections of the Cabinet of Drawings and Prints of the Museums Civici di Vicenza, of which it is one of the most important pieces.

The exhibition “Antiquarian Booksellers in Venice” was born from an initiative of ALAI (Association of Antiquarian Booksellers of Italy) in collaboration with ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers) and the Antica Stamperia Armena. Benefits from the patronage of the Municipality of Venice, the Marciana National Library, the Veneto University, Nova Charta Editori, the Cultural Association, Studium and Brunello Cucinelli.

Palazzo PisaniRevedin

Programme: Palazzo Pisani Revedin in Campo Manin, Venice. Hours: Friday 10 February 2023 from 14:00 to 20:00; Saturday 11 from 10:30 to 20:00; Sunday 12 from 10:30 to 17:00. Admission €5 (invitations to enter for free are available at participating bookstores).

List of participating bookstores:

Leave a Reply