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Utilissimo Trattato Dell' Acque Correnti Diviso In Tre Libri, Nel Quale Si notificano le Misure, ed Esperienze di Esse. I Giuochi, e Scherzi, li quali per mezzo dell'Aria, e del Fuoco, vengono operati dall'Acqua, Con diversi necessarii ammaestramenti intorno al modo di far Condotti, Fistole, Bottini, ed altro, per condurre l'Acque ne' luoghi destinati. Con una esatta notizia di tutto quello, ch'e stato operato intorno alla conduttura dell'Acqua di Bracciano. Il tutto con diligenza, e studio osservato, e dato in luce con le Delineazioni Dal Cavalier Carlo Fontana. Dedicato Alla Sagra, E Real Maesta' Di Giuseppe Ignazio D'Austria Re' De Romani, &c.

Carlo Fontana

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Opere dal Ca. Fontana


In Roma:: Nella Stamperia di Gio. Francesco Buagni,, MDCXCVI. Con licenza de' Superiori.

Physical Description

[16], 196, [12] p., [2] pl. (double-page): [79] illus.; 324 mm. (Quarto.)

General Note

The number of unnumbered pages at the end of the text is variously catalogued as 11, 12 or 14.

There is an issue with four pages inserted after p. 176, containing three 'capitoli aggiunti al Libro II' (on the compression of water and air).


[Dedic.]; Indice de' capitoli - Protesta dell'autore [about illustrations] - Imprimatur; Benigno lettore. - Lib.1: (Natura, luogo delli elementi &c.) - Lib 2: Esperienze, giuochi, scherzi - Lib 3: Condottura dell'aqua nuova del lago di Bracciano. - Indice delle cose; Registro [binder's register].

Responsibility Note

The two plates and all figures were drawn by Fontana. The two plates and three of the figures are signed as drawn by him and etched by Alessandro Specchi.


Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 5 (2003), no. 3854; National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, IV (2000), no. 39; Johns Hopkins University, Fowler (1961), no. 123, p.106-7; P. Riccardi, Biblioteca matematica (1952), I, 465-6.

Summary Note

Here the architect Carlo Fontana reveals his expertise in engineering and hydraulics. The third part is an account of his work on the River Arrone and Lake Bracciano between 1670 and 1676, repairing the Acqua Paola conduit (the ancient Aqua Traiana) to supply the new fountain in Piazza San Pietro which Pope Clement X had commissioned from Bernini.

The two etched plates show plans of Lake Bracciano and details of sluices and conduits controlling its outflow. The 79 etched illustrations (nearly all half-page) are technical figures showing movements of water, fountains and other hydrostatic structures.

The manuscript and drawings for this work are at Sir John Soane's Museum, London (bought by Soane at the sale of Robert Adam's library).


Republished as microfiche in 1996 (Leiden: IDC).


Obtained by Sir William Chambers during his visit to Paris in 1774. It belongs to a group of books that J. D. Le Roy gave him in order to settle a debt. Chambers recouped the money owing to him by selling this (and at least seven other titles from the same source) to the Royal Academy for a total of £23 5s. The value he put on this particular book was £1 3s. (see RA Cash-book, 1769-1795, entry dated 21 May 1774).

Copy Note

The Academy's copy is the issue without the four-page 'capitoli aggiunti' after p.176. The front endpaper is inscribed in ink in an unidentified hand, 'No.411. £30'.

Binding Note

18th-century sprinkled calf, rebacked, with gilt borders on covers, gilt-tooled spine in 18th-century style, with red morocco spine-label, lettered, 'Opere dal Ca. Fontana'. Bound with Fontana's Antio e sue antichita (1710) and Discorso sopra l'antico Monte Citatorio (1708).


Civil engineering, Roman - Hydraulics, Roman - Aqueducts, Roman - Conduits, Roman - Plumbing systems, Roman - Plans - Lakes - Rivers - Italy - Bracciano (Lake) - Arrone (River) - Rome - Acqua Paola (Rome) - History
Fountains - Italy - Lazio - Rome - History - 17th century
Treatises - Italy - 17th century
Pictorial works - Italy - 17th century


Alessandro Specchi, 1668-1729, engraver
Joseph I Holy Roman Emperor, 1678-1711, dedicatee
Giovanni Francesco Buagni, fl. 1689-1707, printer
Julien-David Le Roy, previous owner
Sir William Chambers RA, previous owner