Why Portolan?

A portolan is a harbour-finding chart designed for the use of mariners to guide them to safe harbours. Portolan charts originated in the 15th & 16th centuries in Italy and northeastern Spain. Drawn on parchment, they depicted stretches of coastline sailed by local mariners, features such as headlands to get one’s bearings, treacherous shoals to avoid, and prevailing wind directions to set course. As aids to navigation, they were remarkably accurate, drawn from experience, and set down with great care and skill. A distinguishing feature of portolans is the wind rose, which depicts the eight principal wind directions and criss-crossing rhumb lines used for charting one’s sailing course. Portolan Global’s logo is a modern design of a typical wind rose, along with rhumb lines for safe travel to one’s destination. That, in a nutshell, is Portolan Global: providing creative, skillful and experienced advice and guidance to get safely to your objectives without losing your way.

"The portolan chart originated in thirteenth-century Italy, as an aid to the pilots navigating their way across the often treacherous Mediterranean Sea. They are characterized by rhumb lines, lines that radiate from the centre in the direction of, often elaborate, wind or compass points that were used b pilots to lay courses from harbour to harbour. Generally drawn on vellum and often embellished in silver and gold, they were, at their height during the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, some of the most beautiful examples of the mapmaker's art ever produced."

- Daniel Crouch Rare Books, Catalogue TEFAF Maastricht, March 2020