By PORCACCHI, Thomaso, 1590 

Isola di Corfu

Europe Greece
  • Author: PORCACCHI, Thomaso
  • Publication place: In Venetia
  • Publisher: Appresso gli heredi di Simon Galignani
  • Publication date: 1590
  • Physical description: Woodcut map
  • Dimensions: 110 by 150 mm (4.25 x 6 inches)
  • Inventory reference: 3367


A detailed map of Corfu, complete with a representation of the Angelokastro (Castle of the Angel) in the capital to the north. The castle is emphasised because, in the year before the first edition of Porcacchi’s work, it had played a vital role in defending the island against Ottoman invaders. The castle withstood a siege and prevented the Turks from gaining a foothold on the northwest coast of Corfu.

This map appears in L’isole piu famose’ by Tommaso Porcacchi, a beautiful and important isolario first published in 1572. The isolario, or island book, was a genre developed in the Mediterranean over the sixteenth century as a unique blend of literature, geography and art. It combined up-to-date cartography with contemporary accounts of and information about the places it portrayed. Porcacchi’s work represents the culmination of a movement in the genre towards cartographical accuracy; L’isole’ was aimed specifically at readers who dello studio della geografia si dilettano’ (delight in geographical studies). L’isole’ was the first isolario with maps engraved on copper.

This is the third edition of L’isole piu famose’, enlarged from the original and, according to Phillips, containing 17 maps which do not appear in the 1572 original including two of the New World: Jamaica and Puerto Rico. The addition of the New World islands from the second edition onwards reflects contemporary interest in the geography of the Americas. The detailed, beautifully engraved island maps are set in context by the two splendid world maps in the closing sections entitled Descrizione del Mappamondo’ and Discorso intorno alla carta da navigate,’ pages 193 to 20. 


  1. Philips 3328
    • Phillips, P. (1909–1992). A list of goegrpahical atlases in the Library of Congress. Washington: Govt. Print. Off.
  2. Sabin 64105
    • Sabin, J. (1962). A Dictionary of books relating to America. Amsterdam: Israel.
  3. Shirley 127–28
    • Shirley, Rodney. (1987). The mapping of the world. London: Holland Press.