Don’t be surprised, reader, if the towns of Garfagnana are listed with so many consular names; in fact, in
In addition to the castles erected on the summits of the mountains by the sons and grandsons of the Roman equites, or even by the same citizens who were exiled at the time of
At the foot of the Panie [Mountains] is a spring which flows only when the wind is about to blow, and while [it blows], and until 3 days after [it has stopped], and which then ceases; hence, the peasants can always predict the wind. They believe that it comes from the sea, but this is false. I think it originates from a subterranean fermentation, etc.18
Something like the outline of a tree, with trunk, branches and twigs, and made of scarce, thin, dark dirt, can be seen on the ground in the beech forests; and I could not understand what it was. Having consulted the shepherds, they said that these were [the remains of] beech trees that had fallen and rotted, leaving that scarce, dark soil. I then verified this by seeing some half–rotten trees, and others that were about to [decay]. From this I infer how scarce the earth is in the plants.
They are all volatile, and the alkaline [salts] of the ashes are melted by fire, and then gathered. Etc.19 XXVI.r] XXVI.v]
He rises above the rains, hears the rushing
clouds beneath his feet, and treads upon the roaring thunders.20
It faces the peaks of the [Apuan] Alps to the south; the Po, king of Italian rivers, no further than 18 miles to the north; and it is almost equally distant from both the Secchia River, 8 miles to the east, and the Enza,26 to the west, called … by
Proposal made to the Council of Reggio to send Master
Thus, the above mentioned Sir Massaro32 said to those who were present: “As you know, O Elders, since a long time it has been agreed to collect the water from the Lake of Ventasso; as long as Master
From the Book of Provisions for the years 1452 to 1454, p. 111, in the Archive of the Most Illustrious Community of Reggio.35 XXIX.v]
Given the ruin that has come from Mount Ventasso, and which flows all the way down into the Secchia River,38 threatening and destroying chestnut woods, fields, meadows, houses, and crops, along with the church of the said land.
Provided by the
A proposal made to the Council of Reggio, in the manuscript book of the
(Plutarchus/Πλούταρχος n.d.), XII, 28–32, http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0007.tlg033.perseus-grc1:28.1.
(Appianus/Ἀππιανὸς n.d.), XIII, 7–11 (59–101), http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0551.tlg017.perseus-grc1:1.7.59.
The reference in the manuscript is incorrect. The exact one is (Florus n.d.), II, 21, http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:latinLit:phi1242.phi001.perseus-lat1:18.104.22.168.
In the aftermath of the civil war which opposed the Optimates (led by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, 138–78 BC) and the Populares (whose main leaders were Gaius Marius, 157–86 BC, and his son Gaius Marius Minor, 110–82 BC), and was won by Sulla in 82 BC, thousands of Roman citizens were proscribed. Many of them were killed; others escaped from Rome, taking refuge in inaccessible areas—as, in this case, Garfagnana.
Quintus Lucretius Ofella (?–81 BC), a Roman general who served under Sulla’s command. See (Plutarchus/Πλούταρχος n.d.), XII, 29 (8), http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0007.tlg033.perseus-grc1:29.8; (Appianus/Ἀππιανὸς n.d.), XIII, 11 (101), http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0551.tlg017.perseus-grc1:1.11.101.
The reference in the manuscript is incorrect. The exact one is (Inghirami 1637), Liber II, pp. 120–128. Actually, the Ethruscarum antiquitatum fragmenta are a forgery. The real author (and self-proclaimed editor), Curzio Inghirami (1614–1655), was an archeologist and historian from Volterra. He claimed to have found these documents among his family papers, and that they had been written by a certain Prosper Fesulanus in the I century BC—hence this name is mentioned in the manuscript. However, already in 1640, the Greek-Italian scholar Leone Allacci (1586–1669) discredited Inghirami’s book ((Allacci 1640)). On this topic, see (Rowland 2004).
(Bocchi 1654), Liber II, Centuria XL, 362–366.
(Sallustius n.d.), XI, http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:latinLit:phi0631.phi001.perseus-lat1:11.
After the failure of his conspiracy against the Roman Republic and the Senate, Catiline (Lucius Sergius Catilina, 108–62 BC) tried to reach Gaul by passing through Etruria. However, near Pistoia he was stopped by the legions led by Marcus Petreius (110–46 BC), where he was forced to fight (battle of Pistoia, or Pistoria), and where he eventually died.
Caius Antonius Hybrida (106–after 42 BC), Roman politician and legate. A former ally of Catiline, he turned coat against him and took the side of the Senate.
See note 9.
Decimus Iunius Silanus (I century BC). In 62 BC, he was made consul with Lucius Licinius Murena.
Lucius Licinius Murena (105–22 BC). In 62 BC, he was made consul with Decimus Iunius Silanus.
Probably an unspecified and learned member of the Orsucci, an ancient and noble family in Lucca.
Arguably, Bartolomeo (not Simone) Morganti.
Perhaps the historian Niccolò Franchini Taviani (circa XVII century): a member of the Franchini Taviani, a noble family in Pistoia. See (Capponi 1874), 144–145; (1878), 198; (Moreni 1805), 497.
Arguably, Timoteo (not Lazzaro) Tramonti.
Probably, this was (or is—the vagueness of the note makes it impossible to verify the location of the spring, and whether it still exists or not) a secondary outflow of an underground karst channel.
Because of its high calcium content (mainly CaO), wood ash is typically alkaline.
(Vergilius n.d.), XII, 703, http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:latinLit:phi0690.phi003.perseus-lat1:12.697-12.745.
(Vergilius n.d.), XI, 700, http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:latinLit:phi0690.phi003.perseus-lat1:11.690-11.724.
Lago Calamone, also known as Lago del Ventasso (“Lake of Ventasso”). It is a glacial lake located on the northwestern slope of Mount Ventasso (1,727 m/5,666 ft above sea level). Both the lake and the mountain are now part of Ventasso (Province of Reggio Emilia). See http://www.parcoappennino.it/percorso.php?id_zona=7id=107.
Nigone, now a hamlet in the municipality of Ventasso. On this topic, see (Tiraboschi 1825), 142–143.
In Azzari’s Compendio ((Azzari 1623)) there is no trace of this quote. We can find just a short hint at the voice Nigone: “Nigone, Monte Moscoso, Ramoseto, Buora, Lago di Ventasso, con titolo di Contea, di Claudio Valisneri, Regiano, a cui è sottoposto quel bellissimo lago detto Ventasso” (page not numbered). Given that Azzari’s book is a Compendio—i.e., a “summary”—Vallisneri’s quote likely refers to a longer, unpublished text from the same author.
Torrente Enza (“Enza Creek”), a main tributary of the Po River. It forms a natural boundary between the Provinces of Parma (on the west) and Reggio Emilia (on the eastern side). It was once known as Incia, or Lenza. For a terminological history of this name, see (Brambilla Ageno 2000), 582; (Tiraboschi 1824), 390.
The Secchia River originates on the slopes of the Alpe di Succiso (“Alp of Succiso”), at 1,450 m/4,757 ft above sea level. This location is now part of the municipality of Ventasso. Currently, in the surroundings of the Alp there isn’t any place named “Pra’ di Reno.” This may be due to the extreme antiquity of such a toponym.
Actually, the Enza does not originate from the Lake of Ventasso. Rather, its source is located on the slopes of Mount Palerà (at circa 1,300 m/4,265 ft above sea level), a few kilometers west of the Alp of Succiso.
Since the XI century, the Counts of Vallisneri (also known as Vallisnera, or Vallisniera, or Vallisnieri, or Vallisneria) were the feudal rulers of this land and of many other nearby regions in the current Province of Reggio Emilia (see (Tiraboschi 1825), 389–392). Not without a struggle, as Antonio himself attested in two private manuscripts ((Vallisneri, n.d.), State Archive of Reggio Emilia, Archivio Vallisneri, Busta 27, n. 1; (n.d.), State Archive of Reggio Emilia, Archivio Vallisneri, 5, mazzo c, Busta II, Scheda n. 51), he succeeded in proving that his family descended from this ancient and noble lineage, whose roots date back to the Lombard (or Longobard) dominion in Italy. On this topic, see (Generali 2007), 1–4. Still today, Vallisnera is a hamlet in the municipality of Ventasso.
The boundaries of the current administrative region of Lombardy are far different from medieval and early modern Lombardy, whose territory included a large part of northern Italy and covered the whole Po Plain, up to the northern Apennines. On this topic, see (Andenna 1998); (Black 2014).
No biographical data were found about this person.
In the Duchy of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio (and, from 1597, in the Duchy of Modena and Reggio), a “Massaro ducale”—literally, “ducal estate Manager”—was the officer in charge of taxes and tolls, and the custodian of funds in a community. See (Rezasco 1881), 612–614.
Perhaps Simone Calcagni (XV century), who later became Archdeacon in Reggio (see (Affarosi 1737), 93; (Turchi 2007), 358).
No biographical data were found about this person.
(“Oblatio Facta de Derivatione Facienda de Aqua Lacus Montis de Ventaxio” 1453), State Archive of Reggio Emilia, Consigli, Provvigioni del Consiglio Generale, dei Dodici Saggi e Difensori della Città; dei Deputati sulle entrate del Comune; e degli Anziani, Anni 1452–1454, 111r. The same text, though with some variations, is reported in (I Canali Di Secchia E d’Enza. Riassunto Storico E Giuridico. Parte I: Notizie E Questioni Riguardanti Le Derivazioni Dei Canali Reggiani Di Secchia E d’Enza Dai Fiumi Omonimi 1886), 27–28.
Busana (now part of the municipality of Ventasso).
Borso d’Este (1413–1471), first Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio. On this topic, see (Tiraboschi 1825), 130.
“Situla”: Secchia River. See (Tiraboschi 1825), 333.
Mauro Vallisneri (16?–17?), a Benedictine priest, historian, and a disciple of Benedetto Bacchini (1651–1721). He was a relative of Antonio, and helped him to prove the nobility of his ancestors. On this topic, see (Generali 2007), 1–3; (Vallisneri 1991), 384–385.
As this note clearly attests, Vallisneri found in this (currently lost) manuscript the “Propositione” on the Lake of Ventasso (see note 35).
Table of Contents
PART I Introduction
PART II Primi Itineris per Montes Specimen Physico-Medicum: Transcription
PART III Primi Itineris per Montes Specimen Physico-Medicum: Translation
7 Other Papers: Translation
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