Saturday, February 21, 2015


Thirty-two big maps on the walls and eight smaller maps at the ends of the gallery

The four small maps at the entrance from the Gallery of Tapestries are:

“Island of Corfu” with the representation of the Battle of Lepanto which took place in 1571, only a decade before this image was painted

“Island of Elba” with, below, hypothetical reconstruction of the Port of Claudius at Ostia

Continuing in the Gallery alternating right and left:

“Southern Puglia” with commemorative plaque and Egnazio Danti's signature

“Jurisdiction of Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin” with the march of the papal court of Gregory XI returning to Rome in 1377 after seventy years spent in Avignon

“Northern Puglia” with on the right polyhedron on a base with a painted relief depicting the death of Archimedes to whom the polyhedron refers to. Perhaps it is the tomb of Archimedes
Extended representation of the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC during which there were almost 50,000 deaths between the Romans and allies

“Sicily” with detailed maps of Messina, Palermo and Siracusa

“Abruzzo” with the now dried Lake Fucino and accurate map of L'Aquila even if specular

“Sardinia” with spectacular sea monster in the lower right

“Territory of Ancona” with a very precise costs and insert with a bird's eye view of Loreto

“Corsica” with on the right image of a galleon ship known as caracca, with crew disproportionate to the size of the ship

“Marche” with a map of Macerata and army of 15,000 men in arms marching to rescue Rome from the landsknechts that sacked the city in 1527

“Southern Calabria” indicating, to the north of Croton, castrum annibalis to indicate the place where it was assumed Hannibal had spent three winters from 206 to 203 BC

“Duchy of Urbino” as it was until 1631, when, with the extinction of the Della Rovere family, it was incorporated in the State of the Church
There are maps of Urbino and Pesaro, as well as a wide representation of the 207 BC Battle of Metauro between the Romans and Hannibal's troops

“Northern Calabria” with a beautiful brigantine (swift ship with three masts) to the right and battle of 330 BC between Alexander the Molossian king of Epirus and an array of Bruzi and Lucani

“Romagna” defined by Danti as Flaminia, with prospects of Ravenna, Cervia surrounded by salt mines and Rimini of which there is a detailed map at the bottom
On the Via Emilia there is a marching army identifiable with that of Julius Caesar in 49 BC crossing the Rubicon. In fact it is possible to see the writing near Cesena Alea Iacta Est

“Southern Campania and Basilicata” defined by Danti as Lucania
Below is the collision with the cavalry of Hannibal in 208 BC during which the Roman consul Marcellus was killed

“Jurisdiction of Bologna” one of the best maps, rich in historical events and detailed illustrations. Below on the left there is a very detailed map of Bologna

“Southern Campania and Basilicata” one of the less accurate maps from topographical point of view. It shows the Montevergine Sanctuary

“Duchy of Ferrara” with caption of the time of Urban VIII (1623/44) pointing out the annexation to the Papal State in 1598
The hydrographic network is made perfectly with a beautiful depiction of the Valli di Comacchio. At the time the waterways were very much used to transport goods
Very interesting is the reclamation of the Polesine of St. John wanted by Alfonso II d'Este and implemented from 1564 to 1580 that had been completed very recently

“Campania” not very accurate even if there is a beautiful rendering of the map of Naples
Victory of the army of Pope John X (914/928) with the lords of southern Italy and Alberic of Spoleto against the Saracens in 915 at the Garigliano River

“Duchy of Mantua” the first known topography of Mantua although unequal in value in the different parts

“Southern Lazio” completely repainted in the year 1636/37 by Luca Holstenio, as well as the beautiful map of Rome, where there is Barberini Palace too, built in 1625/33. Very striking is the representation of the Appian Way

“Duchy of Parma and Piacenza” with maps of the two cities

“Territory of Spoleto” defined as Umbria by Danti who surveyed himself at least part of the territory
There is a map of Spoleto and the representation of Pope Leo III (795/816), the same who crowned Charlemagne, rescued in Spoleto in 795 by Duke Guinigiso

“Lagoon of Venice, Friuli and Istria” defined Iulii Forum, with Istria disproportionately larger than Friuli
It was already restored under Sixtus V (1585/90) by Giovanni Guerra (about 1542/1618) and also under Urban VIII (1623/44)

“Northern Lazio” defined Patrimonium S. Petri, completely repainted in 1636/37 by Luca Holstenio. The map of Rome was made before 1614 but under Urban VIII the Gianicolensi Walls of 1642/43 were added
At the bottom left cupids hold maps of Viterbo and Orvieto

“Domains of Venice to the west of the Piave River” with very detailed maps of Padua and Vicenza

“Territories of Perugia and Città di Castello” with a map of Perugia and its territory surveyed by Dante himself who was born in Perugia. Città di Castello is defined as Tifernum and its territory is less detailed
In 1597 Pietro Oldrado added the representation of the Battle of Lake Trasimeno in 217 BC won by Hannibal against the Romans. There were 19,000 deaths among the Romans: 15,000 legionaries plus more than 4,000 riders arrived in the following days

“Duchy of Milan” with a map of Milan simplified by a nineteenth-century overpainting and victory in 774 by Charlemagne against Desiderius king of the Lombards at Piacenza

“Tuscany and Northern Lazio” described as Etruria, restored in 1589 by Giovanni Guerra (1544/1618) and in 1596 by Pietro Oldrado
 The map is very accurate and consistent. It also includes maps of Florence, Livorno and Siena
“Piedmont and Monferrato” with two commemorative inscriptions for the two domains of the Duke of Savoy and the Duke of Mantua, separated by a golden line. It is not very accurate
There is a map of Turin inserted and the Battle of Ceresola of 1544 between the army of Francis I of France and the Spanish army of Charles V

“Liguria” with in the sea Andrea Doria's brig scourge of pirates and the allegorical representation of Christopher Columbus represented as a Roman emperor with the inscription Ligurian Christopher Columbus discoverer of the New World

“Ancient Italy” and “Modern Italy” both about 1632/33 by Luca Holstenio who imagined some differences in physical geography as the difference between the two deltas of the Po River. Holstenio's sources for modern Italy date to late sixteenth and early seventeenth century

Before the entrance in the Gallery of St. Pius V there are four small maps of ports:
“Venice” very similar to the city as it is today
“Genoa” rebuilt at the time of Urban VIII
“Civitavecchia” with a cargo ship that transports the Obelisk of Psammetichus II to Rome, later placed in Piazza Montecitorio

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