Francesco Basilicata


Francesco Basilicata (died c. 1640) was a 17th-century Italian cartographer and military engineer. Basilicata worked in the service of the Republic of Venice and is known for his maps and drawings of the island of Crete.

Map of Crete with the winged Lion of St. Mark, from The Entire Kingdom of Candia by Marco Boschini, 1651


Very little is known about Basilicata's life. Gerola has suggested that he might have been from Palermo. Other sources tell us that he was from Campania who came to Basilicata for work. When he returned home he would have taken the surname Basilicata.[1] However, it is certain that Basilicata lived on Crete for several years during the first decades of the 17th century, near the end of Venetian presence on the island.


Isola di Candia by Basilicata, 1618

Basilicata probably arrived on Crete around 1609, at a time that the island was an overseas colony of the Republic of Venice known as the Kingdom of Candia after its capital, Candia or Chandax (modern Heraklion). During the course of several years and based on his first hand experience, Basilicata produced three different sets of drawings and maps (dated 1612, 1618–19 and 1629–30).[2] His Atlas,[3] composed around 1618 and today preserved in Museo Correr, is his most famous work.

Basilicata makes skillful use of color to highlight the topography of each region. He meticulously draws every important detail in an aesthetically pleasing manner and often uses vantage points which are unusual and original for the time. In addition to maps, Basilicata also produced several manuscripts concerned mainly with the state of the fortifications of Crete, but also its geography, history, archaeology, administration and economy.

It has been suggested[4] that Basilicata's 1612 map was copied by Marco Boschini, whose 1651 map entitled The Entire Kingdom of Candia strongly influenced the cartography of Crete in Italy and abroad. However, other authors do not accept this claim and, despite not denying Basilicata's influence on Boschini's map, consider the latter to be the result of collective work by several engineers.[5]


  1. ^ Clutton 1982, p. 48.
  2. ^ Porfyriou 2004, p. 68.
  3. ^ Basilicata 1993.
  4. ^ Clutton 1982, p. 62.
  5. ^ Porfyriou 2004, p. 89.


  • Porfyriou, Heleni (2004). "The Cartography of Crete in the First Half of the 17th Century: a collective Work of a Generation of Engineers". Tetradia Ergasias: Eastern Mediterranean Cartographies. 25/26: 65–92.
  • Clutton, Elizabeth (1982). "Some Seventeenth Century Images of Crete: a Comparative Analysis of the Manuscript Maps of Francesco Basilicata and the Printed Maps by Marco Boschini". Imago Mundi. 34: 48–65. doi:10.1080/03085698208592539. JSTOR 1150745.
  • Basilicata, Francesco (1993). Calabi, Donatella (ed.). Regno di Candia: atlante corografico di Francesco Basilicata 1618. Marsilio. ISBN 8831757431.

External linksEdit

  • BASILICATA, Francesco (brief bio and images).