RAMUSIO, Giovan Battista. Primo volume & quarta editione delle Navigationi et Viaggi. In Venetia: Nella Stamperia de Giunti, 1583.
It was Delle Navigationi et Viaggi that won fame for Giovanni Battista Ramusio (1485 – 1557).
Born in Venice, he occupied various public positions, the most important being that of secretary to the Council of Ten, which was very influential in State affairs. As a disciple of Pomponazzi he acquired a humanistic culture, using his knowledge of Oriental and classical languages in historical and geographical studies.
Delle Navigationi et Viaggi is a three-volume collection of Italian translations of routes and accounts of voyages, dedicated respectively to Africa, the Orient and America. With its various editions during the 16th century, part of the importance of the collection lies in the fact that the originals of some of these reports were lost, and so became known only throughRamusio's translations.
Ramusio's work brings together different Portuguese texts such as the voyages of Cadamosto and Pedro de Sintra, the diaries of the voyages of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral, and the account of the first circumnavigation written by an unidentified sailor. The work also includes the first representation of a spike of corn, in the translation of part of Ásia by João de Barros.