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Italie Gastronomique

  • Author: ZIMELLI, Umberto (artist)
  • Publisher: ENIT [Italian Tourist Board]
  • Engraver: 'Novissima' Roma (Printers)
  • Date: 1931
  • Dimensions: sheet: 48 x 66 cms


Italie Gastronomique: Decorative gastronomic map of Italy designed by Umberto Zimelli for ENIT (Italian Tourist Board) 1931

About this piece:

Italie Gastronomique

Colour-printed map forming the full verso side of an early 1930s Italian tourist brochure (in French) promoting Italian food & regional gastronomy, the flip side with colour covers, printed text and numerous small black & white illustrations. The original folds now flattened out but still visible. A couple of small repairs at top and bottom centre with invisible reinforcements along some of verso folds. With all an attractive and well-presented example.

A striking gastronomic map of Italy designed by the renowned Italian artist and designer, Umberto Zimelli [1898-1972]. It forms one full side of a double-sided early 1930s tourist brochure published by ENIT (the Italian Tourist Board). Targeted at French visitors its aim was to promote the Italy’s culinary delights and the country’s distinctive & varied regional gastronomy. Examples of the brochure were published in English, French and German and Zimelli’s design was also issued as a separate poster.

In 1931 the map was welcomed in glowing terms by the magazine Albergo in Italia which noted that :

This map by ENIT (the Italian Tourist Board) seems like a pictorial synthesis of the “Gastronomic Guide to Italy”…in a word, the map is like a signboard of good Italian cooking.. the kitchen itself and additionally the cellar so rich in special wines…

Alberto Capatti and Massimo Montanari in their recent book, Italian Cusine, A Cultural History, make the point that Zimelli’s map was also a statement of pride in Italy’s distinctive cultural and Mediterranean-orientated culinary identity whilst also serving to underline Fascist Italy’s continuing territorial ambitions in the interwar years. Note the bottle of Maraschino liqueur carefully placed over the Croatian port of Zadar (Zara), which references this recently acquired Italian enclave across the Adriatic, transferred under the terms of the 1920 Treaty of Rapallo and encompassing a 104 square kilometer area including neigbouring coastal settlements and several small offshore islands. It would remain (nominally at least) an Italian provincial outpost through the Second World War and until 1947.

The map was one of several Italian designs commissioned from Zimelli by ENIT in the early 1930s, the others focusing the regional costumes, wines and scenic beauty of early 1930s Fascist Italy.

Refs: David Rumsey Collection (Zimelli & Calderini: Map of Popular Italian Costumes, 1934)