TOTTI, Pompilio (with) MARI, Giulio

TOTTI, Pompilio (with) MARI, Giulio Ritratto di Roma antica (with) Grandezze della città di Roma

Roma, Andrea Fei (with) Giacomo Mascardi, ad istanza di Giacomo Marcucci, 1633, 1628


8vo, 2 works in one, separate t-ps, pp. (ii) 370 (xxii), first printed t-p and prelims (a1-8) bound at end; pp. (iv) 169 (i). Roman and italic letter. Handsome engraved t-ps: first with female personification of Rome, Colosseum and Pantheon at head, Egyptian obelisks at sides and arms of Charles III Duke of Créquy below; second with personification of Rome and triumphal columns surmounted by obelisks. 130 ¾ page engravings illustrating Roman monuments and antiquities, 2 full-page woodcuts personifying rivers, 144 woodcut roundels of coins and medals, including one on t-p and many at end of first work. 57 half-page engravings of views of antique and ‘modern’ Roman buildings and monuments in second. Intermittent and mainly marginal light spotting and foxing, age yellowing, intermittent mostly light browning, foxing to first engraved t-p. Good copies in contemporary vellum, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, inner frame with delicate laceworked gilt corner and centrepieces with fine rounded petals and pointille details, a little loss to two edges of lower cover, spine double gilt ruled in compartments with small gilt flowers, a.e.g.


An attractive combination of two profusely illustrated and most entertaining early travel guides to the city of Rome. The second edition of Totti’s celebrated ‘Ritratto’, a near reprint of the first of 1627 enlarged with new engravings, is bound with the rare second edition – remarkably in four languages – of Mari’s “Grandezze della città di Roma”. The volumes are in a lovely contemporary Italian vellum binding: similar gilt cornerpieces and centrepieces shaped as flowers with long petals containing fine details are found on a series of bindings made in Rome in the mid 17th century (see The Henry Davis Gift III, no. 368-369).

 Pompilio Totti (c. 1590-1639) was an Italian bookseller, editor and engraver. He is most famous for his illustrated works on Roman antiquities and numismatics. Totti sought to create ‘a portrait of ancient Rome both figured and animated’, bringing to life the antiquarian narratives of the city’s past through fresh images of its buildings, inscriptions, statues and inhabitants. The first few chapters, prefaced by an engraved genealogy, are devoted to Romulus, his founding and planning of the city. The narrative proceeds to the seven kings and their successors, interspersed with antiquarian digressions on Roman customs including weddings, military triumphs and ritual sacrifices – a few illustrations show different types of ceremonial crowns and instruments required to perform sacrifices. Totti introduces the reader to the main areas of the city and describes the most important monuments: the engravings illustrate temples, theatres, amphiteatres, circuses, triumphal arches, basilicas, columns, but also medals and coins. The author always places monuments in their historical context: when describing the Colosseum he also describes and illustrates the gladiatorial fights that took place there. The most interesting new addition to this second edition is perhaps a beautiful image and description of the famous statue of Laocoön and his Sons (on display at the Vatican Museums). 

The identity of Giulio Mari, author of the second work, is quite obscure. Conversely, his ‘Grandezze della città di Roma’, was very popular and sought-after. In the introduction, the printer states that the first (1625) sold so quickly that he decided not only to reprint it, but also to make it ‘more useful’ by adding translations in French and German “for the benefit of the ‘Oltramontani’” (meaning those living ‘beyond the mountains’ in northern Europe). This second edition constitutes a fascinating example of a Renaissance multilingual travel guide: the main text in the Italian vernacular is accompanied by a full translation in French, while the numerous engravings are provided by captions in Latin and German. The work is divided into two sections: the first contains descriptions of 41 notable antique monuments and areas of Rome (e.g. squares, baths, arches, teatres, temples…), while the second is dedicated to 16 ‘modern’ buildings, including St. Peter’s Basilica, Palazzo Farnese, Villa Borghese and many more. All descriptions are appropriately illustrated, showing monuments and ruins as they appeared in the Renaissance, surrounded by charming characters in contemporary clothing. These detailed images, here in clear impression, were by the printer and engraver Giacomo Marcucci.

USTC 4008791, BM STC It C17, p. 917. Not Brunet, Graesse or Fowler. USTC 4000621, BM STC It C17, p. 537. Not in Brunet, Graesse or Fowler. Worldcat records only three copies of this edition in the US (Columbia University, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University)

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