2.07 Villamena 1652

Francesco Villamena, Ager Pvteolanvs sive prospectvs eivsdem insigniores, Rome 1652

E-POZ 142-2520 raro VII

Francesco Villamena (1564-1624), indicated as the author of the work, was one of the most important engravers of his time. His series on Pozzuoli first appeared in Rome in 1620; the Bibliotheca Hertziana owns the 1652 edition. Each sheet of the volume in the exhibition bears two of the 24 plates that in other copies are bound individually in portrait format. In addition to idealised reconstructions of ancient buildings, there are several bird’s-eye views of the landscape in which important monuments, geological formations and anecdotal elements are inscribed. These include the verification of poisonous fumes in the Grotta del Cane and historical information, such as the formation of Monte Nuovo, ‘overnight in 1538’. The book ends with a large-format illustration showing the entire Campi Flegrei area in a combination of map and bird’s-eye view. This map, with its 20 captions, dates back to an engraving by Mario Cartaro, whose dedication is dated October 4, 1584. Grassi received the privilege to print it on October 1 of the same year, together with the privilege for a book on the antiquities of Pozzuoli, illustrated with plates engraved by Cartaro, which probably served as a model for Villamena. [PH]

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