1551: The Theater that was Rome - Map by Leonardo Bufalini

Leonardo Bufalini was a sixteenth-century engraver from Udine, who moved to Rome together with his collaborator, the publisher Antonio Blado. There he worked as a measurer, engineer and consultant for military architecture.
Leonardo Bufalino/i

Born: 1486 or 1500. Died: 1552

Not much is known about his life except for the information obtained from his will and the short preface to his most famous work, a map of Rome printed in 1551.
  • This was the first comprehensive map of Rome since antiquity, and the first ever printed map of the city.
  • It comprised 24 sheets and measured 200 x 190 cm, and was the result of twenty years of study.
  • Included in the woodcut was a preface, a dedication to Pope Julius III, and a self-portrait dated 1551.
  • Bufalini had been working as a military engineer on certain projects, which included the modernization of the fortifications of Rome, and the map was partly a product of these engineering programs.
  • The map is credited with being significant as a representation of the urban fabric of a modern Rome, but Bufalini created it with clear attention to antiquity.
  • He depicts as whole some ancient monuments that were in ruins and others that had completely disappeared, thus blending together within a single map both the contemporary and the ancient city.
  • Bufalini’s map had a great influence on subsequent representations of Rome. It served most notably as the basis for Giambattista Nolli's famous map of 1748.
  • By July 1552, not long after the first printing of his map, Bufalini had contracted some sort of illness, from which he died shortly afterward in December of that year.

1. Before we get to the actual map, please re-read the above bullets. Below there will be a link to the allegedly 1551 version of Buffalini's map of Rome. As one of the bullets states, the self-portrait presented above, was made in 1551.
  • Edita per Magrm Leonar... dum. The name of Leonardum can be obtained here.
    • Who's Magrm Leonardum?
  • Die XXVI - what's the meaning of that?
2. Additionally, we have our usual speculations about the history of this map as it pertains to the author's intent. Did Bufalini specifically stated it himself?
  • Bufalini created it with clear attention to antiquity.
  • He depicts as whole some ancient monuments that were in ruins and others that had completely disappeared, thus blending together within a single map both the contemporary and the ancient city.
3. Most of the Google result will give you the following 1748 and 1755 versions of the map.
  • 1748 Administro Vrbis Ichnographiam +1
    • Engraved pictorial map of ancient Rome by Giovanni Battista Nolli, drawn from an actual survey published in 1748 in Rome by Francesco Monaco and Carlo Nolli. Map is a reduction of the original city plan produced by Leonardo Bufalini, issued by Magro Leonardo, May, 1551.
  • 1755 Vrbis Romae ichnographia
    • Leonardo Bufalini published the first plan (ichnographic map) of Rome in 1551. Bufalini’s highly detailed plan depicts Rome as a mixture of ancient ruins and contemporary structures. Giovanni Battista Nolli then expanded Bufalini’s plan in 1748, which, in turn, was reproduced in 1755 in Nuremberg. This hand-colored engraving consists of four sheets, which have been joined. Instructions for coloring the map are given above the cartouche in the upper left corner: Rubrum significat urbem, flavum antiquitates, violaceum aedificia ecclesiastica (“Red indicates the city, yellow indicates antiquities, violet indicates buildings belonging to the Church”).
1551 Map


I was able to locate only two source of the actual 1551 map. Not saying that these are the only ones. Here are the links:
As we can see, the bottom of the map contains several texts in Latin. Somehow the fonts appear to be different, from block to block. I guess it's also supposed to be normal. Here is one of those text.


KD: We are supposed to believe that in 1551, over 1,000 years after the fall of the Western part of the Ancient Rome, some Leonardo-Magrm Bufalini, or Bufalino (with no real bio) had knowledge of where completely non-existent ancient monuments once stood?
  • What was his knowledge of those places based on?
  • What sources are such claims of the contemporary historians based on?
  • What education and tools allowed him to put this map together by 1551.
  • How do we explain that 200 years later this same very map is still being used to map Rome?
    • What happened to the progress?

1911 source

P.S. Consider this. The first instrument resembling a true theodolite was likely the one built by Joshua Habermel in Germany in 1576. The first occurrence of the word "theodolite" is found in the surveying textbook A geometric practice named Pantometria (1571) by Leonard Digges. Prior to the theodolite, instruments such as the geometric square and various graduated circles and semicircles were used to obtain either vertical or horizontal angle measurements. - Wiki

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