Lettere toscane [...] divise in quattro libri

Autore: LAPINI, Eufrosino (1520-1571)

Tipografo: Anselmo Giaccarelli

Dati tipografici: Bologna, 1556


8vo (165x100 mm). [8], 311, [1 blank] pp. Collation: [π]4, A-T8, V4. With the printer's device on title page and a woodcut diagram in the text (p. 295). Decorated initials. Early 19th-century boards with inked title on spine. From the library of Leonardo Trissino (his ownership inscription on the front pastedown dated 1831). Other ownership entry on p. [π]2r, also repeated on last leaf verso with the addition of a verse (“Quel che nel cor si porta, invan si fugge”) taken from Guarini's Pastor Fido, by a certain Francesco Michelucci, possibly the late 16th-century poet and playwright from Pistoia mentioned by V. Capponi in the Biografia pistoiese o notizie della vita e delle opere dei Pistoiesi (Pistoia, 1878, p. 275). Other unreadable notes on the title page by a later hand. Small repaired hole to the lower margin of the first leaf, some light occasional foxing, all in all a very good, wide-margined copy.


First and only edition dedicated by the author to Ludwig Langenauer (Bologna, February 18, 1556). The collection contains 64 letters divided into 4 books. The letters were all sent from Firenze and Bologna between 1552 and 1556.

The topics covered are clearly expressed in the short titles describing the content at the beginning of each letter. These show the author's own interests and the great influence the work of Giovanni Della Casa had on him. In fact, he similarly discusses issues related to Italian language and education, to friendship and virtue, to honor and policy, to the human condition and to the correct behavior. It is doubtful that all the letters of the collection were really sent. Some of them, especially those without recipient, were probably written to introduce specific conventional topics.

Of particular interest is the letter addressed to Antonio Gianfigliazzi (dated Florence, September 28, 1554, pp. 155-157), which describes in detail a fresco painted by Giorgio Vasari in an unspecified house located in Via dei Servi in Florence, that was uncovered soon after Gianfigliuzzi's departure for the countryside. The decoration of which Lapini praises the beauty and explains the allegorical meaning, is certainly that painted on the facade of the palace of the ducal secretary Sforza Almeni, located at the corner between Via dei Servi and Via del Castellaccio, which now hosts the Museo de' Medici. It is a 16th-century palace originally built for Piero d'Antonio Taddei and subsequently confiscated by Cosimo I from the Taddei family for its opposition to the Medici regime and donated to Sforza Almeni, who embellished it further by commissioning an extensive pictorial decoration on the facade to the painters Cristoforo Gherardi and Giorgio Vasari. Vasari later accurately described the fresco in the chapter dedicated to Cristoforo Gherardi in his Vite (G. Vasari, Le vite..., 1550 e 1568, R. Bettarini & P. Barocchi, eds., 1966-1987, VI, p. 398), as he was concerned about its possible loss “per essere all'aria e molto sottoposta ai tempi fortunosi” (‘for being outdoors and much exposed to all kinds of ruinous weathers'), but also evidently very pleased with its complex iconographic program, “che conteneva, per dirlo brevemente, tutta la vita dell'uomo dalla nascita per infino alla morte” (‘which contained, to put it briefly, the whole life of man from birth to death'), which are more or less the same words also used by Lapini in his letter.

“Alla stessa città dei Fugger, Augusta, appartengono i personaggi citati nella dedica di Frosino Lapini a ‘Lodovico Langenaur [Langenauer] Augustano Alemanno'. È lo stesso Lapini a fornirci il curriculum dell'Augustano, dottore ‘nell'una e nell'altra facoltà': fu rettore del ‘nobilissimo studio di Padova' (probabilmente nel 1553-54) e dal Senato di Venezia fu nominato Gentiluomo e Cavaliere di San Marco. Il Langenauer apparteneva probabilmente alla famiglia cotitolare della ditta Haug-Langenauer-Link, in ogni caso il suo legame con il mondo degli affari della città di Augusta (e con le sue propaggini a Firenze) è testimoniato anche dalla dedica in esame: Lapini infatti riferisce che è stato spinto a stampare le sue lettere in particolare da Hieronymus Kraffter, altro mercante augustano, di confessione protestante (i Fugger invece erano cattolici), e di aver deciso di dedicare il libro al Langenauer quando ‘dal suo amicissimo & mio ottimo Mecenate M. Iacopo Pachmair di lei con molta affectione mi fu parlato'. Si tratta di Jakob Pachmair (o Pachmayer) che lavorava per i Kraffter” (C. Schiavon, Una via d'accesso agli epistolari. Le dediche dei libri di lettere d'autore nel Cinquecento. Prima parte, in: “Margini. Giornale della dedica e altro”, 3, 2009, pp. 3-48).

Little is known about the life of Eufrosino Lapini, a churchman native of Florence. In 1560 he founded the Accademia dei Lucidi (cf. M. Maylender, Storia delle Accademie d'Italia, Bologna, 1929, IV, pp. 10-11), where he taught Italian, Latin and Greek. His tutorial activity, however, had begun much earlier, as is evidenced by numerous letters in the present collection addressed to his Italian and German pupils. A prolific writer, he published translations of ancient and contemporary authors, as well as many pedagogical and devotional works. Lapini's educational interests are especially emphasized by his edition of Della Casa's Galateo (Firenze, 1571), to which he added for the first time a thematic index. He was the author of the pedagogical treatise, the Anassarcho (Firenze, 1571), and of an Italian grammar for foreigners, Institutionum Florentinae linguae libri duo (Firenze, 1574). In 1566 he issued a collection of poems, Le stanze (cf. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Roma, 2004, LXIII, pp. 721-724).


Adams, L-181; Basso, pp. 186-187; Edit 16, CNCE 25789; Quondam, p. 301.