The Botany Collection

last modified Sep 25, 2018 03:31 PM


This remarkable collection is made up of 565 items, published from the 16th to the first half of the 20th century, and stands out for its great historical as well as scientific value.

Cartellone didattico, Atlante Dodel-Port (Esslingen, Schreiber, 1878).

Most 16th-century books focus on botany and medicine-related topics, like the outstanding copy of the German physician Leonhart Fuchs’ De historia stirpium (Basel, Michael Isengrin, 1542) with its amazing watercolour prints. The 17th-century encyclopaedic notions and the idea of natural history museum are well represented, as a copy of the Dendrologiae naturalis scilicet arborum historiae libri duo by Ulisse Aldrovandi (Bologna, Ferroni, 1668) attests. The collection holds also many 18th-century books, among which you can find some important works by Linnaeus; the majority of 1800-1850 editions are related to systematic botany and include several editions (from 1803 to 1830) of the popular Farmacopea ferrarese by Antonio Campana, that was even translated into different languages.

The collection was held by the University of Ferrara Institute of Botany until  2010,  when it was relocated in the Humanities Library in order to help care and promotion activities. From 2012 to 2015 all the books were catalogued, including copy-specific information (handwritten notes, former owners’ book-plates, bookbinding, etc.), therefore all the bibliographic records are now available in the local (BiblioFe) and Italian National Catalogue (SBN). The books are shelfmarked ANTICHI BOTANICA and are currently available to all interested users, as well as studied by researchers and used by Unife teaching staff with undergraduates and postgraduates during seminars held inside the Library. Furthermore, a number of restoration activities have been set up since 2014, involving relevant items like the three volumes of Joseph Pitton de Tournefort’s Institutiones rei herbariae (Lyon, Imprimerie royale, 1719).

Some books belonging to this collection are shown in the video Let’s promote the University of Ferrara valuable treasures - The art of rare book cataloguing (2016) and images of title-pages and plates are also printed on bookmarks, cards and other heritage-inspired gifts.


Collection available at: Biblioteca di Lettere e Filosofiamap


Filippo PICCOLI, Dipartimento di biologia: sezione di botanica: biblioteca ‘fondo antico’, in Verso un museo delle scienze: orto botanico, musei e collezioni storico-scientifiche dell’Università di Ferrara, a cura di Carmela Loriga, «Annali dell’Università di Ferrara», volume speciale (2001), pp. 35-42.

Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Sezione libri antichi (1500-1600-1700) della biblioteca dell'Istituto Botanico, a cura di G. Rompietti (Ferrara, Università degli Studi di Ferrara, 1983).

Università degli Studi di Ferrara - Istituto Botanico, Sezione libri antichi (1800-1850) della biblioteca, a cura di G. Rompietti (Ferrara, Università degli Studi di Ferrara, 1983).

Books restoration


Loans for exhibitions:

2008 - Dall'Hortus Sanitatis alle moderne farmacopee (Ferrara, Biblioteca Comunale Ariostea, 1 dicembre 2008 - 14 febbraio 2009). Exhibition catalogue

Antonio Campana, Farmacopea ferrarese (Firenze, Guglielmo Piatti, 1830) - inv. 800 141090

Antoine Du Pinet, Historia plantarum (Lione, Gabriel Cotier, 1561) - inv. 800 140589

Leonhart Fuchs, De historia stirpium commentarii insignes (Basilea, Michael Isengrin, 1542) - inv. 800 141871

Francisco Hernandez, Rerum medicarum Nouae Hispaniae thesaurus (Roma, Vitale Mascardi, 1651) - inv. 800 141860

Nicolas Lémery, Dizionario overo trattato universale delle droghe semplici (Venezia, Hertz, 1737) - inv. 800 141819

Matthias de L’Obel, Icones stirpium seu plantarum, tam exoticarum, quam indigenarum (Anversa, Officina Plantiniana, 1591) - inv. 800 143828

Pietro Andrea Mattioli, Discorsi (Venezia, Nicolò Pezzana, 1744)