Libri di Secreti (Italian Books of Secrets)

‘Books of Secrets’ (Libri di Secreti or, more generically, ricettari) first flourished during the middle ages. They were technical, crafts-based ‘how-to-do it’ manuals, ‘secret’ because they were written in Latin and available only to the privileged few. With the advent of the printing press, vernacular editions started to appear—the first in Italian was the Opera … More Libri di Secreti (Italian Books of Secrets)

Isabella Cortese’s Book of Secrets and the Biblioteca Marciana

While conducting research in Venice on the Italian Books of Secrets by the alchemist Isabella Cortese I had occasion to visit the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (National Library of St Mark’s) in Venice. It is in a beautiful building that was designed by Jacopo Sansovino in 1536. The biblioteca itself was constructed from 1537 to 1553, with frescoes and ancillary … More Isabella Cortese’s Book of Secrets and the Biblioteca Marciana