For the first time the qualifier Divina was added to the title Commedia
in this 1555 edition produced by one of the most illustrious printers of
the period. The edition was prepared by Lodovico
Dolce (1508-1568), who is probably responsible for the successful change
1555, Venice: GABRIELE GIOLITO DE' FERRARI
Dante had already been proclaimed "divino" on the title pages
of previous Venetian imprints (1512, 1520, 1529 and 1536) (and divo in various
colophons since Windelin of Speyer's 1477 edition). Dolce was a great friend
of the polygraph Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) also known at the time as Il
Divino, and it has been suggested that Dolce probably thought better of
calling Dante with the same title. Instead, introducing a clever and legitimate
variation, he applied the adjective "Divine" to the poem itself.
Giolito never again reprinted his Dante edition, leaving that to another
Venetian printer, Domenico Farri. Yet, Farri's reprints would not have been
sufficient to guarantee the success of the new title if the Crusca Academy
had not used it in their authoritative edition in 1595.
Gabriele Giolito (d. 1578) was a bookseller, printer and editor at Venice,
the most famous of the Giolito de' Ferrari family and son of Giovanni, who
had reprinted the Stagnino edition of the Commedia in 1536.
Upon the death of his father in 1541, the direction of the press fell to
Gabriele, and it grew rapidly under his guidance. The bookshop and press
was located in the Rialto district and was called "Libreria della Fenice"
(Bookstore of the Phoenix). Gabriele's printer's mark was an elaboration
on his father's, which had consisted of a phoenix rising from the flames
above the Latin motto "semper eadem" (always the same). He replaced
the flames with a winged amphora and his father's initials with his own,
adding the Italian motto: "Dela mia morte eterna vita vivo" (Out
of my death I live eternal life).