Italian Paleography


Chicago, Newberry Library, VAULT Case MS 6A 75
Piero and Andrea Mantiga
Mantiga Family’s Account Book
Florence, between 1522 and 1587

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On January 23, 1542, Piero Mantiga started transcribing a fair copy of his father Andrea’s account books.  The Mantiga (also known as Mantica) was a noble and powerful family with multiple properties in northern Italy, in and around the city of Pordenone.  In his ledger, still bound in its original brown leather cover, Piero and his brothers recorded roughly sixty-five years of family business (1522-1586), mostly related to properties that the family was buying, selling, or renting.  Among the most cited places is Venzon (cc.1, 26), a small town north of Pordenone.  In Venzon, the Mantiga family bought and rented properties to people from various professional backgrounds: on c.1, for example, Piero reached an agreement with the heir of Zuan Domenego, the town’s baker.

Contrary to many sixteenth-century ledgers, the Mantiga’s account book materially shows aspects of its curated nature: a professional and decorated italic script; carefully organized_ mise-en-page_ (one entry per page and visible ruling allowing for precisely indented columns); non-chronological order of entries; alphabetized rubric listing places and people mentioned in the book, followed by the charta number in which to find them.  In a title page following this rubric, Piero himself (f.1) described the book as a copy of previous ledgers (“affitti e compre sonno cavatte dei libri del Mis(ser) Andrea Mantiga”).

While Piero copied rents and properties previously recorded in his father’s books, later interventions (at least two additional hands) transcribed future developments of some of these business affairs.  On charta 26, Piero transcribes a record of a house that Lena, widow of Girardo de Venzon, was renting for the sum of 72 fiorini and 10 soldi.  The following note at the bottom of the same page, transcribed by a different hand, added that later on the house would be rented by Paulo Ferazzo (1568).  These subsequent additional hands are more extemporaneous and less formal, containing an increasing number of corrections, errors, and crossing outs (for example cc.40, 44 or 49).


Italica professionale ricchissima di maiuscole e elementi decorativi.
Da notare: la r diritta divaricata (1r, r. 8: fratte); la z con tratto inferiore obliquo che si prolunga sotto il  rigo (1r, r. 3: Venzon); il legamento ss tra forma minuscola e maiuscola (26v, r. 4: apresso).

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