Storia di due amanti (Tale of Two Lovers)

Author: Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Italian, Corsignano near Siena 1405–1464 Ancona)

Translator: Alessandro Braccio (Italian, Florence 1445–1502 Rome)

Publisher: Published for ("ad instantia di") Ser Piero Pacini da Pescia, active Florence ca. 1495-1514

Dedicatee: Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici (Italian, 1463–1503)

Published in: Florence

Date: ca. 1495–1500

Medium: Printed book with woodcut illustrations

Dimensions: 8 1/16 x 5 11/16 x 3/8 in. (20.5 x 14.5 x 1 cm)

Classification: Books

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925

Accession Number: 25.30.17


Enea Silvio Piccolomini, who became Pope Pius II (r. 1458–64), wrote this tale of adultery in 1444 before taking holy orders (the original was written in Latin). It may have been based on a true incident that took place in Siena. The narrative circulated widely both in manuscript and then in numerous published editions after the pope's death. The tragic and rather cynical tone of the Latin text is lightened with a happy ending in the Italian version, culminating in a splendid marriage and large family. This book is probably the first illustrated edition. Some of the woodcuts may actually have been reused from other books, as was often the case in Pacini's press.