“During [the latter fifteenth century] Ferrara was at the forefront in pursuing knowledge about the world beyond the Italian peninsula through newly translated works of ancient geographers and historians as well as through more recent sources, such as travellers’ accounts, merchant activity, and increasingly accurate maps. Donald Lach singles out the Este family among Italian bibliophiles as ‘the first to begin col- lecting books on asia and the overseas world’ (vol. 2; bk 2, 48). Jerry Brotton names the Este along with the Montefeltro of Urbino as prime examples of wealthy patrons and power brokers who ‘were quick not only to commission new manuscript texts but also to allow their names to be associated with new printing initiatives within the field of academ- ic geography’ (The Renaissance Bazaar, 37). Not surprisingly, both Ptolemy and Strabo figured prominently in the Ferrarese court: Strabo’s voluminous Geography was translated by the city’s preeminent human- ist, Guarino da Verona, and an illuminated manuscript of Ptolemy’s Ge- ography in an early fifteenth-century Latin translation was dedicated to Borso d’Este in 1466. Ercole d’Este kept this precious latter volume in his personal study along with a crucial Bologna edition that was the first to contain a comprehensive cartographical apparatus. These works not only provided factual information – Ptolemy alone described more than 8,000 places – but offered models of open-mindedness in viewing the globe.”
From Cavallo, The World beyond Europe in the Romance Epics of Boiardo and Ariosto, pp. 6-7.