Acis Hortus Regius. The Herbarium of Giuseppe Riggio Acireale (1811)
Texts by Caterina Napoleone, Francesco Maria Raimondo, Giovanni Salmeri, Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, Pietro Mazzola
2007 / 400 PAGES
The folio volume Fiori di Sicilia is the monumental collection of over 750 illustrations of medicinal herbs carefully painted in tempera and watercolour by the painter Emanuele Grasso, commissioned by the botanist Giuseppe Riggio.
Fiori di Sicilia is the reproduction in folio of the herbarium of Giuseppe Riggio, owner of a pharmacy in Acireale and above all a passionate expert in medicinal herbs. The original herbarium, created by the painter Emanuele Grasso and dating back to 1811, was sold to the Pregliasco antique dealers of Turin by the last descendants of Riggio. It was then purchased by Franco Maria Ricci, who edited this folio edition, and subsequently donated it to the library of the Accademia degli Zelanti, its original location.
The four hundred pages of the volume present herbaceous species of pharmaceutical interest, spontaneous Mediterranean species along with Sicilian endemic climbing and exotic species, which Riggio had delivered from different parts of the world like works of art to be collected. The reproductions by Grasso contain no botanical indications or comments and the arrangement of the branches or flowers follows an artistic inspiration that emphasises their beauty, giving movement to the composition.