As the title already connotates, Joseph Furttenbach’s „Newes Itinerarium Italiae“ (1627) displays an early version of a travel guide, a collection of the nicest places in Italy. It seems to be written for Furttenbach’s peers; people who are interested in travelling or for those who want to get to know Italy’s most beautiful places.
After the „Vorrede“ (Introduction), there are three different registers. The first one („Das erste Register“) lists Italian towns in alphabetic order, all marked with page numbers. Skipping to the listed pages, one can find short descriptions of the different places in Italy, consisting of a few sentences each, which present what is important about the named place. Like this, each Italian town gets their „five minutes of fame“, which tell us why the area is worth visiting. The „andre Regsiter“ („the other register“) shows how far the places are apart from each other and lists the travelling time from one place to another in hours. The „dritte Register“ (the „third register“) registers all the drawings and illustrations in the book.
The first illustration that really stands out is a folded map of northern Italy, where all the named towns are shown. Other than that, there are beautiful drawings of landscapes such as the sea or small islands, town pictures or buildings like the tower of Pisa. However, most of the pages consist of large paragraphs of text, beatifully layouted and printed.
The book is created quite compact, regarding the mass of information that it contains. This probably relates to the book being a travel guide. Like this, one can easily fit the book into a suitcase/travelbag on the way to Italy.
The author himself was born in Germany in 1591 and is known for being an architect, mechanic and mathematician. Aside „Newes Itinerarium Italiae“ he wrote multiple other books that show his intention of spreading his information in a printed form to allow easy access to lots of knowledge.