From Renaissance to Enlightenment: Cardano and Vallisneri

The activities of the ISPF Milan Section center on two great projects: they are dedicated to the edition and the appreciation of the works by two of the most representative authors in the Italian philosophy and science from Renaissance to Enlightenment.
Girolamo Cardano is one of the most important and questioned figure in the European Renaissance. He was engaged in a great project aimed at reforming the encyclopaedia of learning and he made a very remarkable contribution to the scientific and philosophical culture of his years: his works in philosophy and medicine, mathemathics and astrology aroused a great deal of interest from the fifteenth century to the age of Enlightenment. The "Progetto Cardano" ( is intended to the edition of the Milanese author's works and to the study of the Lombard Renaissance; it aims at appreciating both a crucial figure and a decisive area in Italian and European culture, which has been strangely neglected by the most recent historical researches. The "Progetto" , whose international editorial board attests to the pluridisciplinary character of Cardano's works, has already promoted two international seminares and published the proceedings. The critical edition of "De libris propriis" and "De subtilitate" in traditional format have been published, too, as well as the "Contradicentia medicorum" in electronic format and the "De utilitate" in anastatic printing. The initiative is supported by the Istituto Lombardo, Accademia di Scienze e Lettere, the Istituto del Rinascimento, the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence and the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici in Naples.

In the Italian and European context, Antonio Vallisneri (1661-1730) was a protagonist in various fields of natural sciences, as well as an author of capital scientific influence on his time and on further periods. The National Edition of his works, approved by "Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali" (2000), enables the availability of his printed works and manuscripts in critical editions both in traditional and electronic format. In this way, it offers instruments which will be basic and of reference in the studies on such a top figure but of poor historiographical fortune, till now. The Edition ( envisages the publication of 60 volumes, including a first recent volume of unpublished Quaderni di osservazioni. Furthermore, a collection of studies and materials is operative aiming at the reconstruction of the context in which Vallisneri worked. The publication of the Bibliografia of the edited works has inaugurated it recently.
The Edition is supported by different financing sources, extra CNR, it participates in and organizes workshops and conferences and is the result of the cooperation of the ISPF Milan Section with Italian and foreign universities, research institutes, libraries, archives, local institutions and private foundations.