Brief HistoryAnonima Petroli Italiana (API) was incorporated in November 1933 in Ancona, Italy. It still operates an oil refinery in the city and was supplying a network of almost 1,500 service stations covering most of Italy when, in 2005, it acquired the retail operations of IP formerly owned by Agip, more than doubling its network. Later in the decade the API brand was dropped in favour of the better known IP image, which is now seen on around 4,200 filling stations in Italy. For over 30 years it had a small chain in neighbouring Kärnten (Carinthia) in Austria, although it never supplied more than about six stations, so no maps of Austria are believed to have been issued by the brand.
The two images below left are front and rear covers from a 1958 API map of Italy. Using cartography by Istituto Geografico de Agostini in Novara that was also used for several other petrol companies, it was sold for Lit. 150. The cover design appears rather hackneyed today, with a young blonde lady sitting on a Alfa Romeo Giuletta Spider sports car, in front of a neo-fascist statue of a naked male athlete at Rome's E.U.R.
The three issues below all carry an authorisation date of April 1963 for their maps, and are drawn to a scale of 1:750,000 by Vallardi.
The third map is on a single sheet; it it likely to be later again as it features the Italian motorcycle racer Giacomo Agostini, who first won the 500cc World Championship in 1966.
This map (right) is probably the most recent one prepared for API, as it dates from 1993. Covering Italy on a single sheet at the slightly less generous scale of 1:800,000, the map uses high quality modern cartography from EGM (EuroGeoGrafiche Mencattini) of Arezzo.
When Shell first withdrew from Italian marketing in 1973, AGIP formed a new subsidiary company - Industria Italiana Petroli (IP) - to acquire Shell's assets. In later years, AGIP switched many of the higher volume IP locations to its own brand, and sold the remaining chain to API in August 2005.
As a late entrant to petrol retailing, IP maps are relatively few in number. IP is known to have sold a conventional road atlas by IGDA, Novara at the scale of 1:250,000 with blue covers.
IP collaborated again with L'Espresso when the magazine on 5 May 1991 gave away a small road atlas, measuring 220x143mm. Although it had 64 pages, there were only 17 of conventional road maps, at the ungenerous scale of 1:1,200,000. However there were 33 pages of useful strip maps of all the main autostrade, clearly marking IP service station locations as well as a list of selected restaurants suitable for truck drivers. Note that in the extract South is at the top of strip. IGDA again provided the cartography.
Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 1999-2014
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