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The first book about the game of (soccer) football, dedicated to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany

[BARDI, Giovanni de'].
Discorso sopra'l giuoco del calcio Fiorentino. Del Puro Accademico Alterato. Di nuovo ristampato.
Florence, Cosimo Giunti, 1615. 4to. With the woodcut arms of the dedicateeon the title-page, 1 folding engraved plate, 2 woodcut decorated initials and decorations built up from arabesque typographic ornaments. Early limp sheepskin parchment (possibly taken from another book) with manuscript title on the spine. 48 pp.
€ 18,000
Second edition, in the original Italian, of the earliest treatise - and only early monograph - on the historical precursor of the modern game of European football (American soccer), namely the game of "calcio" traditionally played by young men in Florence's Piazza Santa Croce during the Carnival season, first published in 1580. The book explains the mechanics of the game, provides its historical background, and describes actual games played in and around Florence shortly before 1580. The present 1615 second edition is almost unchanged, but has a new dedication by the printer, Cosimo Giunti (and so, a different Medici coat of arms on the title-page), which also reveals the author's name: Giovanni de' Bardi, Conte di Vernio, anonymous in the first edition. Its curious that both editions are dedicated to and show the arms of the Grand Duchess rather than the Grand Duke (what would they have thought of Megan Rapinoe!?).
The engraving gives an excellent view of the Piazza Santa Croce showing the players on the field immediately before kick-off. It appears to be a close copy of the 1580 plate. The book is dedicated to Maria Maddalena of Austria (1589-1631), from 1609 to 1621 Grand Duchess of Tuscany, wife of the Grand Duke Cosimo II de' Medici and daughter of Archduke Karl II of Austria, so it shows her arms on the title-page.
With some annotations in ink on the flyleaves and title-page, binding slightly soiled, very slight browning throughout, otherwise in good condition Bascetta, Sport e giuochi I, 129; ICCU (6 copies); Melzi II, 388; Moreni I, 84; USTC 4027466 (9 copies); cf. Cicognara 1570; Gamba 98 ff. (later eds.); Inghirami I, 60; Parenti 54 ff. (1st ed.).
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