Istoria dell’Incendio del Vesuvio Accaduto nel mese di Maggio dell’Anno mdccxxxvii. Scritta per l’Accademia delle Scienze.
Naples, Novello De Bonis, 1738 4° (234x163 mm). , 122 pp., lacking the last leaf, blank. Woodcut decorative initials. Two folding engraved plates, the first showing Vesuvius viewed from the Royal Palace, the second depicting its crater. Contemporary vellum on pasteboards; flat spine, tooled and lettered gilt. Red edges. A few, light stains to lower board. An excellent, wide-margined copy. Minor browning to the first four leaves. At end is inserted a folding printed leaf listing the etchings engraved by Giacomo Frey, and those engraved after Maratti. Rare first edition of this interesting and ‘scientific’ description of the severe Vesuvius eruption occurred between 14 May and 4 June 1737, and that on 24 May caused the complete destruction of Torre del Greco. The author, professor of medicine at the University in Naples, “admonished his readers; ‘Let us now keep close to the Truth’. He briskly dismissed arrant nonsense like the suggestion that Vesuvius had erupted in disapproval of the arrival of the Bourbon in person” (G. Darley, Vesuvius, p. 65). The treatise was highly praised by Ferdinando Galiani in his Catalogo delle materie appartenenti al Vesuvio (see item 48), and translated in French and in English. “Serao was to first to use the word lava, derived from the Latin labes for fall or slide. In an attempt to add a positive note, his account ended with some safety measure, suggesting that people build dykes and ditches or divert and divide the main flow of molten material – as had proved effective at Etna” (G. Darley, Vesuvius, p. 66). Furchheim, p. 180; G. Darley, Vesuvius, London 2011, p. 65-66.