Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers, par une société de gens de lettres. Mis en ordre e publié par m. Diderot ... e quant à la partie mathématique, par m. D'Alembert ... .
Troisiéme édition enrichie de plusieurs notes dédiée à son altesse royale monseigneur l’archiduc Pierre Léopold.
Á Livourne, dans l'Imprimerie de la Société, 1770-1779.
(22 vol. di discorsi compresi i Supplément + 11 vol. di tavole)
L’ Encyclopédie di Diderot and D’Alembert was published in Italy first in Lucca (1758-1776) and later in Livorno between 1770 and 1779. This double Italian encyclopaedia publication, the only case in Europe, shows the success and feedback that this work had. The main creators of these two publications were the nobleman O. Diodati in Lucca and the printer G. Aubert in Livorno. Both publications, compared to the first French edition, have many additional notes and corrections, but the Livorno edition in particular has even more.
The choice to publish the third reprint of the Encyclopédie was not a random choice. Its advocate, Giuseppe Aubert, saw a good base to start the encyclopaedia company in Livorno’s rather liberal political-social context of the time.
Under the protection and constant support of the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo, who also offered a room for holding the presses in the prison's old bathroom, rules were introduced, starting from the year 1769 that, by abolishing the regime of limiting the opening of new printing works, encouraged the liberalisation of the art of printing, something that allowed the Encyclopédie to easily and rapidly find many other patrons.
The first volume was printed on 22 October 1770. Printing was rather quick, apart from the last volume of tables that was published in 1778, two years after the previous one, probably to keep the subscribers’ interest alive, creating the desire in them to buy a prestigious addition, like the Supplément, which came out in 1778 and 1779, which the Lucca edition did not have.
In the publishers’ detailed “introductory speech” the intention to advertise the work is clear in the emphasis given to various aspects such as the engravers’ skills, but also the favourable conditions offered by the location of the city for the diffusion and distribution by land and sea of the 1500 copies created by the 14 presses in the print works.
Lastly, but no less important, the publishers intended to highlight the meaning of the immediate protection given to the print works by the Grand Duke, thanks to whose approval it was possible to also publish such a revolutionary work in form and content in Livorno. Pietro Leopoldo;s choice was truly ‘illuminated’ and forward-thinking, as the consent obtained by the Livorno edition proved, even to the point that it was presented in the most prestigious courts of Europe, even in far off Russia.