Giambattista Nolli (1701-1756) was an architect and surveyor who lived in Rome and devoted his life to documenting the architectural and urban foundations of the city. The fruit of his labor, La Pianta Grande di Roma ("the great plan of Rome") is one of the most revealing and artistically designed urban plans of all time. The Nolli map is an ichnographic plan map of the city, as opposed to a bird’s eye perspective, which was the dominant cartographic representation style prevalent before his work. Not only was Nolli one of the first people to construct an ichnographic map of Rome, his unique perspective has been copied ever since.
The map depicts the city in astonishing detail. Nolli accomplished this by using scientific surveying techniques, careful base drawings, and minutely prepared engravings. The map's graphic representations include a precise architectural scale, as well as a prominent compass rose, which notes both magnetic and astronomical north. The Nolli map is the first accurate map of Rome since antiquity and captures the city at the height of its cultural and artistic achievements. The historic center of Rome has changed little over the last 250 years; therefore, the Nolli map remains one of the best sources for understanding the contemporary city.The intention of this website is to reveal both the historical significance of the map and the principles of urban form that may influence city design in the future. During the last half of the 20th century, architects and urban designers have shown a renewed interest in what the Nolli map has to offer, leading to new urban theories and a model for the study of all cities
Features of the Nolli Map
The Nolli map consists of twelve exquisitely engraved copper plates that measure approximately six feet high and seven feet wide when combined (176 cm by 208 cm). The map includes almost eight square miles of the densely-built city as well as the surrounding terrain. It also identifies nearly two thousand sites of cultural significance. Nolli’s map is an extraordinary technical achievement that represents a milestone in the art and science of cartography. Modern surveys and sophisticated satellite images have confirmed the accuracy of Nolli’s map within the very smallest margin of error. The map not only records the streets, squares and public urban spaces of Rome, but Nolli carefully renders hundreds of building interiors with detailed plans. The detail of the map representation ensures the map's continuing value as a unique historical document, and it gives the viewer a glimpse into the ancient metropolitan center during one of its most illustrious periods.
The Interactive Nolli Map...