Giambattista Nolli

I have been trying to find to find out a bit about Giambattista Nolli, who was responsible for the greatest street maps of Rome, which he began work on in 1736 and published in 1748 as the Pianta Grande di Roma, at almost exactly the same time that John Roque was working on the equivalent street map of London, published in 1747.   Nolli is a minor cult figure amongst architects in clearly showing the relationship between streets, public spaces and public buildings (indeed, the reason I have been trying to find out about him is that one of our architectural advisers did a Nolli of Mayfair).   Not much seems to be known about him.   He was born in 1701, moved to Rome, published the map at the request of Pope Benedict XIV and with the help of Piranesi, and died in 1751, not long after the map was published, his life work.   The point of the map is that the city is an organism, in which each individual part contributes to the while;  and that the city is experienced through walking through the streets, rather than through looking at individual buildings.   You can see why I am interested in him.


4 thoughts on “Giambattista Nolli

  1. I’m ashamed to say that I’d never heard of Nolli. Once again you and your blog have educated me. Thank you.

    News, please, of the publication of the Blog in book form.

  2. Just wanted to let you know that we have released a digital edition of Giambattista Nolli great Rome plan (orginally on 12 sheets): Nolli App for iPhone and iPad. All indices are included (there’s 2, one by number and one by category), and in our version you can simply tap on a number on the map to get the information from the index. You can also overlay the historic map with current Rome aerial imagery, and you can even use it to navigate (locate yourself on the map while walking through the streets of Rome). More information can be found here:

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