The Grand Tour. 18th c. Views of Rome by Piranesi’s Pupil

ROME. Cassini, Giovanni Maria (1745-1824)

Nuova raccolta delle megliori vedute antiche et moderne di Roma disegnate ed incise da Giovanni Cassini.

Rome: Venanzio Monaldini, 1779


Oblong folio: 27 x 40.5 cm. Engraved allegorical title, dedication leaf, index, and 80 engraved plates.


A fine copy with trivial blemishes (v. light damp-stain to blank margin of 2 plates (no's 22 and 43), bound in 18th c. quarter vellum with decorative patterned paper (partly worn away on the rear board and along the edges of the upper board.) Very attractive.

First edition of these elegant views of Roman monuments by the engraver Giovanni Maria Cassini, who learned his craft from none other than Giambattista Piranesi, and who would go on to win fame as an important map and globe-maker. In the “Nuova raccolta”, Cassini includes a view of Santa Maria Del Priorato (pl. 13), one of the very few architectural designs of Piranesi to come to fruition, and a church considered to be the first Neoclassical building in Rome.

Thematically, the book is divided as follows: churches, piazzas, palazzos, fountains, ports, bridges, entryways, arches, portals, and gates (in the city walls, entering gardens, squares, etc.); arches, baths, aqueducts, tombs, temples, and a miscellany of top tourist attractions (the Colosseum, Trajan’s Column, Theater of Marcellus, etc.).

As the title states, these images are all proper vedute. That is, the monuments are depicted in the context of the surrounding structures (adjacent or connecting buildings, piazzas, fountains, columns, obelisks, etc.) and many of the scenes include people admiring the monuments, taking a stroll, on horseback or in carriages.

Cassini’s are some of the last vedute by a notable artist before the more scientific archaeologists of the early nineteenth century began clearing the accumulated debris, soil, and vegetation away from the ancient monuments, freeing them (as in the case of the Arch of Titus) from later architectural accretions, and performing restorations. Cassini’s numerous images (18 of them) of the gates of Rome are particularly valuable in this regard, since a number of those entrances have been closed, demolished, or otherwise altered.

Plates: 1. Saint Peter’s square, 2. Saint Peter’s lateral view, 3. Saint John Lateran, 4. Saint John Lateran with a view of the Lateran obelisk, 5. Santa Maria Maggiore, 6. San Paolo fuori le Mura, 7. San Sebastiano, 8. San Lorenzo fuori le Mura, 9. Santa Croce, 10. Sant’ Agnese, 11. San Sabba, 12. Sant’ Alessio, 13. Santa Maria Del Priorato, 14. SS. Pietro e Marcellino, 15. The Pantheon, 16. San Marco and Palazzo Venezia, 17. Piazza del Popolo, 18. Piazza Colonna, 19. Piazza di Pietra, with the remains of the Temple of Hadrian, 20. Piazza Navona, 21. The Quirinal, 22. Trajan’s Column, 23. Palazzo Montecitorio, 24. The Campidoglio, 25. Palazzo Madama, 26. Palazzo Borghese, 27. The Sapienza, 28. Trevi Fountain, 29. Acqua Felice, 30. Acqua Paola, 31. Porto di Ripa Grande, 32. Porto di Ripetta, 33. Castel Sant’ Angelo, 34. Ponte Sisto, 35. Ponte Fabricio, 36. Ponte roto, 37. Ponte Milvio, 38. Ponte Salaro, 39. Ponte Numentano, 40. Porta del Popolo, 41. Porta Castello, 42. Porta Angelica, 43. Porta Pertusa, 44. Porta Fabbrica, 45. The “Cavalry Gate” (Porta Turrionis), 46. Porta Santo Spirito, 47. Porta Settimiana, 48. Porta San Pancrazio, 49. Porta Portese, 50. Porta San Paolo and the pyramid of Cestius, 51. Porta San Sebastiano, 52. Porta Latina, 53. Porta Maggiore (the Claudian acqueduct), 55. Porta San Lorenzo, 56. Porta Pia, 57. Porta Salara, 58. Porta Pinciana, 59. Arch of Septimius Severus, 60. Arch of Titus, 61. Arch of Constantine, 62. The Arch of Janus “Quadrifons”, 63. The Colosseum, 64. A second view of the Colosseum showing “the most ruined part”, 65. The Aventine Hill (as seen from the river), 66. The Acqua Claudia and San Stefano Rotondo, 67. Forum of Nerva, 68. Baths of Docletian, 69. “Baths of Titus” (i.e. Baths of Trajan), 70. Pyramid of C. Cestius, 71. Tomb of Caecilia Metella, 72. Tomb of the Curiazi at Albano, 73. Temple of Apollo, 74. Temple of Fortuna Virilis, 75. Temple of Peace (Basilica of Maxentius), 76. Temple of Minerva Medica, 77. Temple of Bacchus, 78. Temple of Vesta (Tomb of Hercules Victor), 79. Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, 80. Theater of Marcellus.

Cicognara 3657; Millard, Italian No. 30