Map of Rome

Map of Rome
Giovanni Battista Falda (Italian, 1643-1678)
Late 17th century
Ink on paper
27 ¾ in x 35 ¾ in

This topographical view of Rome shows the city as it would have looked in the mid 17th century. Created during the Pontificate of Pope Alexander VII (1655-1667), it depicts a small city surrounded by fields and the Aurelian Walls. By looking closely, one can see many of the famous Roman landmarks such as the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, and the Basilica of St. John Lateran. Around the perimeter are various indices that list the important churches and landmarks of the city.

Prints of Rome and its monuments were very popular for visitors to the city at the time, especially those on the Grand Tour. This expedition throughout continental Europe was a customary rite of passage for young, primarily English upper class males. They sought to explore the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance as well as familiarize themselves with high society throughout Europe. Stops would include cities such as Paris, Geneva, Florence, and of course Rome. These tours could last anywhere from several months to several years depending on the individual’s wealth. Prints like this, often bound in folios, served as mementos of their visit to the Eternal City.

Giovanni Battista Falda
(Italian, 1643-1678)

Giovanni Battista Falda was born in the small Northern Italian town of Valduggia in the Piedmont region at the foot of the Alps. As a young boy, he studied art under the painter Francisco Ferrari. At fourteen he was sent off to work in the studio of Gian Lorenzo Bernini in Rome where he eventually attracted the attention of the print maker Giacomo de Rossi. His skill in drafting enabled him to capture the beauty and detail of Roman architecture, both ancient and contemporary, making his etchings popular amongst visitors to Rome. Throughout his life, he created nearly 300 etchings, most of which are contained in three series entitled “The Nuovo Treato” (New Rome, renovated under Pope Alexander VII, 1655-1667), “The Gardens of Rome” and “The Fountains of Rome.”

Exhibition History

Knights of Columbus Museum
Etchings of the Eternal City: Piranesi’s Rome
May 23, 2008 to August 28, 2009