The first complete printed edition of the Valmiki Ramayana (as well as a translation into Italian) was published in Paris during 1843-1867. After several years of study under the great French Sanskritist E. Burnouf, Gorresio undertook to compile a critical edition of the monumental Sanskrit poem, the Ramayana in the original Sanskrit, together with an Italian translation. Of the two existing collection of manuscripts, the Northern and the Bengali or Gauda, he chose the Gauda because it was believed to be more ancient and also considered superior in artistic merit. The first volume was published in 1843 and the remaining six volumes were completed by 1867. The critical edition along with the Italian translation formed an opus of 12 volumes which took Gorresio 30 years to finish. This edition was published by the Imprimerie Nationale in Paris, with Devanagari characters specially made for the occasion.
In the 1980's, The Indian Heritage Trust reprinted this edition of the Ramayana, along with the publication of the volume of Prefaces, which for the first time was translated into English by Prof. Oscar Botto, the present successor to Prof. Gorresio in the Sanskrit Chair at the University of Torino. This is the volume which is now lying on my table and from which I have gleaned these salient facts.
Unfortunately this volume of Prefaces is no longer easily available. The original Ramayana of Gorresio is however available from Samata Books though I have not tried to get it for myself. In a sense, the book of Prefaces provides a pleasant introduction to the origins, sources, historicity and mythological origins of the Valmiki Ramayana, (though his insistence on dating the historicity of the Ramayana to the 13th century BCE and claiming that Valmiki and Rama were contemporaries, are, I think no longer tenable). The only place I have found it is on Amazon where it is available at an exorbitant price.
I am indebted to K. N. Raghavan for introducing me to Gorresio and his writings.