The Codex Rustici (1448-1453), conserved in the Library of the Archbishop’s Seminary of Florence, is a “monument on paper” to the artistic and religious splendour of Florence in the early fifteenth century and one of the most precious manuscripts in the world. The Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze has funded the restoration of the codex, which is named after its author, the Florentine goldsmith Marco di Bartolomeo Rustici (1393-1457), as well as supporting the production of a facsimile edition complete with critical appendices, published by Olschki.
The work is the story of a real or imaginary pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and offers the opportunity for a full description of Florence at the time: a welcoming and supportive city, packed with churches. The lively and expressive illustrations start with the creation of the world and conclude with a naturalistic repertory of animals and plants. These images offer us the vision of a Florence that is ancient and modern at the same time. It is a work that is fundamental to knowledge of the mediaeval city and to love for its Renaissance evolution.
The Codex is arranged in three sections or Books. The first book contains 169 chapters portraying many of the religious and civil buildings that were standing in Florence in the first half of the fifteenth century.