The Codex Rustici bears the title Dimostrazione dell’andata del Santo Sepolcro – Demonstration of the Journey to the Holy Sepulchre – and is named after its author, Marco di Bartolomeo Rustici of Florence. In 1441 Marco di Bartolomeo Rustici, a Florentine goldsmith, decided to embark on an existential journey to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The illustrations in the codex bear fundamental witness to Florence’s appearance in the early fifteenth century, describing churches, monasteries, and hospitals both within and outside the city walls.

The Codex Rustici: an astonishing picture album of fifteenth‐century Florence

The adventure that Marco di Bartolomeo undertook with Master Leale and Antonio di Bartolomeo Ridolfi is also an encyclopedic account modelled after many itineraria mentis in Deum (and inspired by Petrarch and his Itinerarium Syriacum).

It is a spiritual journey that starts in Florence and then returns there, the demonstration of one man’s love for his birthplace, portrayed in the 80 folios that illustrate its geography, the details of its churches, its streets, and its walls. A fever of visions flashes in Rustici’s eyes, reflecting a need to give meaning to his life in the mirror of the world.

Marco writes and rewrites his pages; he allows other texts to interfere with what he has in mind, and the dramatic episodes are often devices to cite other readings. The drafting of the Codex is as fascinating as it was arduous, and Marco di Bartolomeo worked on it until his death in 1457.

The structure of the Codex

The Codex Rustici is divided into three sections or books. The first book consists of 169 chapters depicting numerous religious and secular buildings present in Florence in the first half of the fifteenth century, with a series of exquisite drawings in pen and brown ink with watercolor that are widely renowned for their beauty.

They are constantly studied by international art and architecture historians, as they illustrate the original architectural structure of numerous important religious buildings with great formal accuracy and an appealing visual effect, while also highlighting the urban identity of a number of Florence’s secular structures of the era.

The second book is made up of 63 chapters, in which we find the part of the journey still within Christendom. From Florence to Porto Pisano and Genoa, crossing the Italian peninsula and hugging the Greek coast, it then takes us to the Aegean Sea and Cyprus.

The third is divided into 73 chapters describing the main legs of the journey: departing from Famagusta, the last outpost of Christianity, the sea route heads towards Africa to reach Egypt.

Cairo is the starting point for the overland route to Mount Sinai and Saint Catherine’s Monastery, continuing to Jerusalem, where the itinerary proceeds through Samaria and Galilee and on to Beirut and Damascus.

Binding description

The Codex is bound in rigid parchment datable between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The front and back boards measure 41.8 x 28.6 cm and the volume is 9 cm thick.

Manuscript book description compiled by the publisher.
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Codice Rustici: Dimostrazione dell'Andata o Viaggio al Santo Sepolcro e al Monte Sinai di Marco di Bartolomeo Rustici

Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2015

  • Commentary (Italian) by Gurrieri, Elena; Olive, Kathleen; Newbigin, Nerida
  • This is a partial facsimile of the original document, Codex Rustici: the facsimile might represent only a part, or doesn't attempt to replicate the format, or doesn't imitate the look-and-feel of the original document.

The facsimile is the complete reproduction of the whole original document. The manuscript leaves are printed in full-size scale, in color, with a black background.

Because of the importance of this work, during his visit to Florence in November 2015 Pope Francis received the editio princeps of the Codex, bound in white leather with the papal coat of arms on the boards of the two volumes.

Content of the commentary volume:


A cura di Elena Gurrieri

A cura di Kathleen Olive e Nerida Newbigin


  • Cristina Acidini, Un pio racconto per immagininei primi trenta fogli del Codice Rustici
  • Franco Cardini, Da Firenze a Firenze, via Gerusalemme
  • Francesco Gurrieri, La città al tempo del Rustici. I confini della urbs perfecta e i cantieri brunelleschiani
  • Francesco Salvestrini, La Chiesa e la città a Firenze nella prima metà del Quattrocento
  • Timothy Verdon, L’immagine della Chiesa nel Codice Rustici
  • Kathleen Olive, Alla ricerca di Marco di Bartolomeo Rustici
  • Nerida Newbigin, Mappare il mondo: l’itinerario intellettuale di Marco di Bartolomeo Rustici
  • Simone Martini, Il restauro del Codice Rustici
  • Alice Cavinato, Scheda codicologica, Firenze, Biblioteca del Seminario Arcivescovile Maggiore
  • Kathleen Olive-Nerida Newbigin, Scheda codicologica, Firenze, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale


Cristina Acidini-Elena Gurrieri
Didascalie alle immagini del Codice Rustici
Tavola delle illustrazioni


Kathleen Olive-Nerida Newbigin
Trascrizione, edizione e annotazioni
Fonti edite e inedite per l’edizione critica del Codice Rustici


  • Il primo libro del Santo Sipolcro e del monte Sinai
  • Il secondo libro del Santo Sipolcro e del monte Sinai
  • Istoria del santo viagio in Gerusaleme ed al monte
  • Sinai e in Arabia


Facsimile and commentary covered in white leather. If requested, the back cover of both volumes can be customized with gold tooling (ask for additional information).

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