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Delle Magnificenze Di Roma Antica E Moderna Libro Primo ... (-Decimo ...) Dedicate Alla Sacra Real Maesta Di Carlo Infante Di Spagna Re Delle Due Sicilie Da Giuseppe Vasi Da Corleone Pittore Incisore Architetto E Pastore Arcade, E dal medesimo fedelissimamente disegnate ed incise in Rame, secondo lo stato presente. Con una spiegazione Istorica ... Composta Dal P. Giuseppe Bianchini Veronese Prete della Congregazione dell'Oratorio di Roma, ed Accademico Antiquario.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Monumenti Sagri E Profani Delle Quattro Eta Di Roma Cioe De' Re, De' Consoli, Degl' Imperatori, E De' Sommi Pontefici Incisi In Rame, E Divisi In Dieci Libri Colle Notizie Piu Interessanti.


In Roma: MDCCXLVII (-MDCCLXI)., Nella Stamperia Del Chracas Presso S. Marco Al Corso. Con Licenza De' Superiori.

Physical Description

10 vols. in 2; 272×392 mm (oblong folio).

General Note

Vol. I: lxxxviii, [2] p., engr. dedic., frontis., 20 pl. - Vol. II: lii, [2] p., [1], 21-40 pl. [Page xlvi is misnumbered xlv.] - Vol. III: l p., 41-60 pl. [Pages xlii, xliii and l are misnumbered xl, xli, lii.] - Vol. IV: lii p., [1], 61-80 pl. - Vol. V: xlviii p., 81-100 pl.[i.e. 14 full-page plates] [The sequence of 81-100 plates is made up by assigning to some of the in-text illustrations the numbers 84, 89, [93], 95, 98 and 99. Some copies have plates 82, 85-88, 94, 96 and 97 in later states.]. - Vol. VI: liv p., 101-120 pl. - Vol. VII: lxxv, [1] p., 121-140 pl. [Some copies have between one and five additional unsigned plates.] - Vol. VIII: xlviii p., 141-160 pl. [Plate 148 is misnumbered 149. It appears that the date on the title-page was originally printed as MDCCLVII and that a final 'I' has been added.] - Vol. IX: lii p., 161-180 pl. [Many copies have an additional plate, 'Prospetto verso Mezzo giorno del Collegio di Propaganda Fide'.] - Vol. X: [ii], xlviii p., 181-200 pl. [In some copies the illustration on page XXXI has another pasted over it.]


Each book has a preface and index.

Responsibility Note

Vasi's signature appears on all plates as draughtsman and engraver, with a few exceptions: the frontispiece of Bk. I is signed 'Caval. Sebastian Conca inven. Giuseppe Vasi incise'; plate 54 is unsigned; plates 58, 85, 86, 94, 97, 100-140 are signed as only etched by him; and plates 162, 165, 166, 170-172 are signed 'G. Vasi' simply. Of the 35 in-text illustrations (which include a sketch-map of Rome in Book I and two plans in Book X) twenty-seven are signed as drawn or etched by Vasi and eight are unsigned. The ten title-page vignettes are all unsigned.

Vasi seems also to have been the author of the texts, with the exception of Book I, written by G. Bianchini and Book II, written by Giovanni Orlandi.

The publishers were: Bk. I (1747) 'Stamperia Del Chracas'; Bks. 2, 3 (1752, 1753) 'Stamperia di Apollo, Presso Gli Eredi Barbiellini'; Bk. 4 (1754) 'Nella Stamperia di Niccolo e Marco Pagliarini Mercanti di Libri'; Bk. 5 (1754) 'Nella Stamperia Degli Eredi Barbiellini Mercanti di Libri'; Bks. 6-10 (1756, 1756, 1758, 1759, 1761) 'Nella Stamperia di Niccolo e Marco Pagliarini Mercanti di Libri'.

The volumes were dedicated by Vasi to: (1) Carlo Infante Di Spagna Re Delle Due Sicilie; (2) Maria Amalia Walburga Regina Delle Due Sicilie; (3) Papa Benedetto XIV; (4) Elisabetta Farnese Regina Vedova Di Spagna; (5) Filippo Borbone Principe Delle Due Sicilie; (6) Errico Benedetto Duca Di York ... Cardinale; (7) Carlo Vittorio Amadeo Delle Lanze ... Card.; (8) Girolamo Colonna ... Cardinale; (9) Cardinale Neri Corsini; (10) Principe Domenico Orsini D'Aragona ... Card. ... Ministro Plenipotenziario Di S.M. Siciliana Nelle Corte Di Roma.


Royal Institute Of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 4 (2001), nos. 3389-98; National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, IV (2000), 14.

On Vasi see L. Scalabroni, Giuseppe Vasi (1981). On Piranesi as the possible draughtsman of some plates in Books 2-5 see H. Millon, 'Vasi-Piranesi-Juvarra', in Piranese et les français, ed. G. Brunel (1978), and L. Scalabroni, op. cit.

The context is described in Exploring Rome: Piranesi and his contemporaries [exhibition catalogue] (1993); Guide di Roma, ed. Schudt (1930, repr. 1971).

Summary Note

These ten books were published between 1747 and 1761. But some plates of Book 5 had been published in the 1740s as Vedute di Roma sul Tevere; and the last book was republished separately in 1763 as Raccolte di ville.

Vasi devotes each book to a particular aspect of Rome: 1. Gates and walls; 2. Piazzas, obelisks, columns &c.; 3. Basilicas and ancient churches; 4. Palaces and streets; 5. Bridges and buildings on the Tiber; 6. Parish churches; 7. Conventi and clergy houses; 8. Monasteries for women; 9. Colleges, hospitals and pious foundations; 10. Villas and gardens.

Despite its title,...Roma Antica E Moderna, Vasi's collection concentrates on views of the modern city, particularly its Christian institutions. He shows a placid, in places almost rural, town, enlivened by gesturing figures, coaches and animals, in a style much less dramatic than that of his contemporary, Piranesi. He uses the etching technique of serial bites (learnt from his teachers in Palermo), to enhance his representation of distances and graduated planes.

Pilgrims and visitors to Rome had long demanded souvenir views. In the seventeenth century this demand had been met by such artists as Della Bella, Falda and Specchi; but it was from the mid-eighteenth century that the veduta flowered as a genre, in the work of Vasi, Piranesi, Barbault and Rossini. Vasi's association with British visitors is exemplified by the mention in the list of fifty-four 'Insigni E Chiarissimi Mecenate Dell'Opera' in Book 10 the names of three 'inglesi' - Giacomo Grant (perhaps James Grant, 1738-1811), Tommaso Wesnn (sic) and Tommaso Ginchin (perhaps Thomas Jenkins, 1722-1798) - and by his dedication of the sixth Book to Cardinal Henry, Duke of York.


A facsimile, edited by M. Gori Sassoli, was published in 1992 (Rome: D. Audino).


Purchased from Francesco Sastres for £6 6s. on 19 April 1788 (see his invoice dated thus 'for books sent to Mr. Wilton for the Royal Academy').

Copy Note

In the Academy's set the ten Books are bound in two volumes. Book I is a second edition, published after 1765; it differs from the first in that it lacks the sonnetto di Giuseppe Vasi at the end, it is paginated differently ([4], lxxii, [2] p.), and includes a half-title, 'Monumenti sagri e profani delle quattro eta di Roma ...' and a new address to the reader, which speaks of 'dieci libri' rather than of a work 'divisa in due tomi' and refers to the large map of Rome which Vasi published in 1765. In Book 2 not only plate 21 bis but also plate 21 is unnumbered; page xlvi, misnumbered xlv, has been corrected by hand. In Book 3 the pages xlii and xliii misnumbered as xl and xli have been corrected by hand. Book 7 has five additional unsigned etched plates (facing pp. XXX, XXXII, XXXVI, XLII, LX). Book 9 has the additional plate found in many other copies (facing p. XVI). Book 10 has the illustration pasted over on page XXXI.

Binding Note

Late 18th-century mottled calf; bound for the Royal Academy by John Miller in 1788 (see his bill for £1 12s. dated 13 July 1788); rebacked, with red and black morocco spine-labels, lettered, 'Vasi Magnificenze Di Roma Tom. I (II)'.


Architecture - Public buildings - Cities - Italy - Rome - History
Views - Topographical views - City views - Vedute - Italy - Rome - 18th century
Pictorial works - Italy - 18th century