The mystery picture of the Quirinal temple and the newly built Quirinal palace

I mentioned several times a fascinating drawing, of unknown origin, that I found on the web in very low resolution.  It depicts the remains of the vast temple on the Quirinal, as it was before 1630, together with the newly built Quirinal palace – today the residence of the Italian president.  But I was never able to find out where it came from, or read the lettering on the image.

Today, finally, I have managed to find a higher-resolution image.  This is to be found at Stanford University, among the papers of … none other than Rudolfo Lanciani!  The link is here.  Sadly they prohibit downloading, but I was able to get a better image than we have had before.  Click on it to expand.

The item is dated 1600 by the cataloguers: “Width: 380 mm x Height: 202 mm, date: 1600, medium: copper engravings (visual works), views, copper engraving, and incisione a rame, inventory numbers: 32674 and Roma XI.53.13”.

The lettering also becomes visible.  It is in two lines, the first in Latin, the second in Italian.  At extreme left is what looks like a monogram: AG.  As we have seen, this is Aloisio Giovannoli, and the date is actually 1616, and the title is “Il Quirinale con frontespizio di Nerone, Aloisio Giovannoli“.  Then we read:

A – Templum Solis pars II.  B – Palatium Quirinale.  C – Sacellum Pontificium a Srno. D. Nro. Paulo V Pont Max exaedificatum, ac maior eiusdem Palatii pars ad Meridie S. Agnes clam effertur in eius suburbium ad sepeliedum, in quo postmodum ei replum dedicatum est.

A – Tempio del Sol parte II.  B – Palazzo di Monte Cavallo. C – Capella Pontificale fatta di Nro Sig. Papa Paolo Quinto Pont. Massimo con la maggior parte del detto Palazzo a Mezzogiorno S. Agnesa e portatu alla sepoltura di nascosto in un suo campo doue hora e la sua chiesa.

It is then followed by “Foglio 61”.

Googling, I find that this is plainly part of a series by Aloisio Giovandolli, 1550(?)-1618, whose monogram was apparently ALO.G.  The BNF in Paris indicate that he published the following item in Rome in 1616: Vedute degli antichi vestigi di Roma di Alo Giovannoli in due parti [Texte imprimé] : la prima contiene mausolei, archi, colonne, e fabbriche pubbliche, la seconda rapprasenta terme, anfiteatri, e tempj. Comprese in rami 106. Parte prima [-seconda].  Physically it was “1 carte, 106 est. [1-44 ; 45-106] ; in-fol, oblong”.  They add “Alo Giovannoli publia en 1616 les ruines des vestiges de Rome. La biblioteca del Museo di Roma donne 1750 comme date d’édition.”

The book itself can be found online at Arache, at the University of Köln, at   And it can be downloaded at very high res (575 mb!), if you can work through the confusing menus (the trick is to click on the top link in the pop-up box and ignore all the stuff below).  Oddly the PDF is in reverse order.  But on p.94 of the PDF, large as life is … our plate.

Even better, plate 60 is another engraving of the temple.  I was unable to work out how to extract it from the PDF, but here’s a screen grab.  Looking from the west, as Giovanolli tells us.

On p.218 of the PDF is a map of Rome, with a list of monuments.

I wonder if I should email Stanford with this additional data?


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