"Marks a Revolution in the Long and Rich Series of Roman Guide Books"

ROME. Felini, Pietro Martire (1565-1613)

Trattato nuouo delle cose maravigliose dell'alma città di Roma ornato di molte figure, nel quale si discorre di 300. e più Chiese.

Rome: Bartolomeo Zanetti, 1615


Octavo: 16 x 10.8 cm. [16], 436, [4]


A fine copy of the second illustrated edition of Pietro Martire Felini's "Trattato", a milestone in Rome guide books, printed by Bartolomeo Zannettifor the publisher Giovanni Domenico Franzini and the heirs of Girolamo Franzini. The first illustrated edition, and the first edition, which had only a few incidental woodcuts, both appeared in 1610.

"The 'Trattato', in part a reworking of that of Prospero Parisio, marks a turning point in the long and rich series of guides of Rome whose origins can be traced back to the end of the fifteenth century. It is indeed one of the first to try to match the increasingly pressing demands of the public, given the lack of precedents, as the author points out in the preface. Felini collects all the material of his predecessors and reworks it, giving it a more coherent form; renews and enriches the illustrations; increases the number of churches examined (bringing them to 303), and in particular offers the first report of the decoration of the transversal nave of St. John Lateran, as well as a brief description of the basilicas of St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Maria Maggiore.

"Felini also introduces a new itinerary of the city that will serve as a model for the guides that will follow until the beginning of the eighteenth century. New also is a much more accurate artistic treatment of monuments. In particular, Felini introduces the description of works carried out in his lifetime (including the decoration of the transversal nave of the Lateran basilica, a succinct history of the construction of St. Peter's Basilica and descriptions of the most important altar paintings of the same); he also analyzes information on the artists who worked in the churches and pays particular attention to the dating of the individual works of art.

"Added to the 'Trattato' is a Roman 'Guida' that, although conforming to the outline of the previous guides, and therefore dealing above all with antiquity, introduces what had been produced during the reigns of Sixtus V and Paul V, and with regard to the latter shows a clear intention to make the volume pleasing to the living pope, highlighting particularly the buildings built by the Borghese. The 'Antichità'of Palladio are also added, and even these have been updated with the various chapters on the floods of the Tiber, on the columns and obelisks, and statues."(DBI, 46, pp. 92-94)

Schudt 175 and pp. 34-37