2.13 Sigismondo 1788-1789

Giuseppe Sigismondo, Descrizione della città di Napoli e suoi borghi, 3 vols., Naples 1788-1789

E-NAP 11-3882/1-3 raro IV

The guide to Naples and its surroundings by the musician and eclectic writer Giuseppe Sigismondo, published between 1788 and 1789 by the booksellers and publishers Fratelli Terres, closes one era and opens another. On the one hand, it constitutes the point of arrival of the periegetic and chorographic tradition of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, at the end of a century – the eighteenth – that had mainly produced a series of reprints and re-editions of the most successful guides (those of P. Sarnelli, C. Celano and D. A. Parrino). On the other hand, it is clearly the first modern guide, which in the author’s intentions had to offer the range of foreigners present in the city a practical, accurate, complete tool, with verified information free from inaccuracies (tome I, pp. 1-2).

The first two volumes (1788) deal with the places and monuments of the city of Naples, now no longer reproduced in engraving, as in the past. The points of interest are, however, indicated in the topographical map that opens the first volume, engraved in copper by Giuseppe Aloja. The third volume (1789) widens the view to Chiaia, Sant’Elmo, Castel dell’Ovo, and especially to the surrounding village (the ‘borghi’), concluding (pp. 209 ff.) with three sections devoted to Vesuvius (and its activity until 1788), the Royal Palace of Portici with the collections of Herculaneum and Pompeii, and the Royal Palace of Caserta. [ES]

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