ACANTI, Aureliano (CANATI, Valeriano).. Il Roccolo ditirambo di Valeriano Acanti Acc. Olimpico Vicentino.

Venice: Nella stamperia Pezzana, 1754., , 1754

Quarto (255 x 190 mm.), xxiv, 67 pages with allegorical vignette on title page, two more vignette in the text and a folding table, all engraved by Cunego. Two small defects on spine but a very good copy in ontemporary boards with manuscript title on spine.


First edition of the earliest account of wines from the Veneto region, containing the first mention of Prosecco. One of the most important and rare works on the history of Italian wine, Il Roccolo ditirambo disguises itself as a dithyrambic poem in honour of Dionysus to sing the praises of Venetian enology. The work is dedicated to Count Gelio Ghellini, patriarch of one of the most powerful families of Vicenza, on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter Elena to Count Simandio Chiericati and it is illustrated with a a fold-out engraving of a pastoral scene including vineyard plantations from count Ghellini's villa, as well as two small bucolic scenes at the beginning and end of the poem, engraved by Domenico Cunego from Verona.

Publishing under the pseudonym and anagram Aureliano Acanti, the author Valeriano Canati (1706 - 1787) was an Italian priest of the Theatines order, as well as a poet, member of the Venetian Accademia Olimpica. Lyrically, Canati recounts the emergence of ‘the son of Bacchus' from a subterranean cloister and his discovery of the idealistic rural scenery he encounters. Soon enough he encounters vineyards and plunges into a passionate and playful discovery of different wines, producing vivid descriptions of their colour, flavour, fullness as well as their effects on the drinker. Of note is the mention of Prosecco as a sweet and cloudy, but pure and healthy wine: ‘Con quel melaromatico Prosecco.//Di Monteberico questo perfetto//Prosecco eletto ci dà lo splendido//Nostro Canonico. Io lo conosco//Egli è un po' fosco, e sembra torbido;//Ma pur è un balsamo sì puro e sano' (p.29). Il Roccolo ditirambo is a fascinating work, both as a commemoration of late eighteenth century Italian enology and a historical record of colossal academic value.

Extremely rare, only four copies have been auctioned in the past twenty-five years, and WorldCat records only three copies: The British Library, Staatsbibliothek Berlin, and Biblioteca intercomunale di Fiera di Primiero. Three facsimiles have been published, in 1971 by the Accademia italiana della cucina, Milan, in 2003 by Provincia di Vicenza, and in 2011 under “La modernità del pensiero vitivinicolo di Aureliano Acanti nel Roccolo ditirambo (1754)” by Antonio Calò and Angelo Costacurta (Biblioteca La Vigna, Vicenza).


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