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Brief History

Anonima 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.

1958 API map of Italy (front) 1958 API map of Italy (rear)

The two images right are front and rear covers from a later API map, possibly around 1961, again with IGDA cartography. Both covers have a base of a road map shown in white on black, with the front featuring an API Super Sprint pump.

Front of API map Rear of API map
Click on the 1958 maps for larger images
Black map covers from William Phillips.

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.

1963 API Map booklet ca1965 API sectional map of Italy ca1966 API map of Italy

However from the extent of the autostrade (motorways), the left hand one is earlier; it is in the format of a paperback atlas with 28 pages of maps. The right hand map is one of a pair (Centro Nord and Centro Sud) of sheet maps; unlike the earlier issue it marks API depots and motorway service areas. It also includes inset strip maps of the main motorways. Both types of map prominently show the location of the API refinery.

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.
Giacomo Agostini image courtesy of Richard Horwitz
Click on this map above for a larger image

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.

Front of 1993 API map of Italy Rear of 1993 API map of Italy

Maps: IP

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.
ca1975  Azzeccapercorsi map of Italy

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.
The sheet map shown here was issued soon after the Shell name was changed in 1975 and shows the "Azzeccapercorsi" or alternative roads to heavy traffic and motorways.
In 1986 IP is known to have collaborated with the weekly news magazine L'Espresso to publish a map called La carta dei fiori showing botanical gardens. Created by IGDA at the scale of 1:750,000, this was given away to coincide with the esposizione internazionale del fiore e della pianta ornamentale EuroFlora 86, Fiera di Genova at the end of April.

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.

1991 IP atlas of Italy Strip map from 1991 IP atlas of Italy

Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 1999-2014

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.