Bertelli’s stunning view of the Venetian siege of Ottoman Soppoto in 1570.

Fortezza di Soppoto [Albania]


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SKU: NL-01333 Category:
Cartographer(s): Donato Bertelli
Date: 1570
Place: Venice
Dimensions: 27 x 19.5 cm (10.7 x 7.7 in)
Condition Rating: VG


This gorgeous Lafreri-school engraving depicts the Venetian assault on the Ottoman stronghold of Soppoto in Albania, which took place in early June 1570. The attack was led by Sebastiano Venier, who would later become the Doge of Venice. It was a crucial event that occurred just before the onset of the Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War, which saw the Ottoman armies invade the island of Cyprus (June 27th, 1570).

Soppoto was a fortress located in the Albanian town of Borsh on the Albanian coast, just north of the island of Corfu. In 1570, Sebastiano Venier held the position of Procurator of Corfu, while Soppoto and the rest of Albania had been under Turkish control since 1478. A military confrontation was inevitable.

The engraving shows the Venetian fleet in the foreground while troops besiege the fortress using powerful artillery (including 14lb and 20lb culverin cannons and two 3lb falconetti cannons). Italian cavalry line up for an attack in the field between the Venetian fleet and the fortress. And on the crest of the hill to the right of the fortress, Captain Manoli Marmori joins the Christian forces at the head of a thousand Albanians.


Donato Bertelli

The Bertelli family represents the largest group of publishers, engravers, cartographers, and merchants of 16th century prints. The most productive was Ferrando Bertelli, active between 1560 and 1570, but maps of the last quarter of the century are known with the signatures of Andrea, Donato, Lucca, Nicolò, and Pietro. The latter was mainly active in Padua, where he led a printing and engraving workshop.

Donato Bertelli (active 1558-1592) was a Late Renaissance printer, publisher, and mapmaker. Operating under the banner of San Marco in Venice, Bertelli was one of the more prominent members of the ‘Lafreri School’ of cartography working out of Rome and Venice during the 16th Century.

Although born in Padua, Donato Bertelli moved to Venice as a young man and spent his entire career there. In 1559, shortly after first arriving in town, he found work in Ferrando Bertelli’s workshop. When Ferrando died, Donato either took over the entire shop or at least acquired his plates, which he then used to launch his publishing career. Donato Bertelli would also publish plates from other Lafreri mapmakers, including Forlani and Camocio, and would often make the prints his own by adding personal elements.

Condition Description

Some wear and two visible worm holes.


Bilfolco, Tav. 621.