Florence, Giunta 1580.
4to. 36p. and one FOLDING ETCHED PLATE (205 x 264) of a calcio match in Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, woodcut Medici-Cappello arms on the title.
Contemporary limp vellum, contemporary manuscript title on both covers, remnants of a paper title label on spine, evidence of four pigskin ties.
First Edition. This describes the violent Florentine sport of calcio in which two teams of twenty-seven players square off, and, using hands and feet attempt to force the ball over the opposing team’s goal line. The participants were local nobles, males ages 18 to 45, and MATCHES WERE ORGANIZED AS FESTIVALS, then as now, staged in the Piazza Santa Croce between January and March (now during June). In the 16th century, spectators were restricted to the nobility, the most important of whom were, obviously, the women the players hoped to impress. Netflix has just produced: Home Game: Calcio Storico. It’s not often an old book gets its own episode.
Bardi wrote his Discorso to expand the game’s reach. He sketches the historical antecedents of the game, explains its rules, gives field measurements, discusses strategies and recommends appropriate attire. He discourages fighting, while accepting the need for retaliation for certain offenses. The folding etched plate illustrates a match and shows the required distances between players and the original brick façade of Santa Croce prior to its 19th-century neo-Gothic renovation and addition of the new bell tower. Previous treatments of the game were cursory or partial.
The author organized festivals for the Medici and was also a music theorist, a member of the Accademia degli Alterati and a quarrelsome man of arms, who was thrice before the law for violence. A good copy in original condition (some foxing), 20th-century woodcut bookplate of Ludovico de Gobbis.
¶Camerini, I Giunti tipografi editori di Firenze 1571-1625 II: 95; Moreni, Bibliografia storico-ragionata della Toscana I: 84; Brunet I: 653; EDIT16 CNCE 4184; see Razzolini’s Bibliografia dei testi di lingua a stampa citati dagli accademici della Crusca 40.