Platina, Bartolomeo

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Platina was appointed Librarian at the Vatican in 1475, and in the same year published and dated the first printed cookery book, De Honesta Voluptate (a title which cannot be translated into either English or French without resort to a whole paragraph of explanation).

Platina was born Bartolomeo Sacchi, of an obscure family, and took the name Platina from his birthplace, Piadena, in the plains of Lombardy. He is known to have served for several years as a soldier and to have been tutor to the children of Ludovico Gonzaga, who gave him a letter of recommendation to the famous Cosimo de’ Medici in Florence, when he went there to study Greek. It was probably in 1462 that he arrived in Rome, where he aroused papal wrath for supposed impieties and served two terms in prison before bouncing back into favour, and obtaining his librarianship, after writing some papal biographies.