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Matthaus Seutter: Firenza la Capitale di Toscana et la Residenza de gran Duchi appresso del fiume Arno Vene sono pochi simili in Italia riguardo della Granezza ...

Map: IT3416
Cartographer: Matthaus Seutter
Title: Firenza la Capitale di Toscana et la Residenza de gran Duchi appresso del fiume Arno Vene sono pochi simili in Italia riguardo della Granezza ...
Date: c. 1740
Published: Augsburg
Width: 23 inches / 59 cm
Height: 20 inches / 51 cm
Map ref: IT3416
Stunning copper-engraved "prospect" map of the Italian Renaissance city of Florence.

“Prospect maps" were very much a German invention and heavily used by the pre-eminent publishing houses of that country. Initially popularised by Johann Baptist Homann, they were then continued by both Homanns Heirs and Homann’s apprentice, Matthaus Seutter. Finally, Matthias Lotter, Seutter’s apprentice continued with the tradition well into the later 18th century. Their format usually follows a city plan which bears a large, continuous panorama or prospect on the lower border of the engraving; this attempted to exploit the newly emerging market for panoramic prints, together with the more traditional map market.

The upper section is a schematic plan of the Tuscan capital. The most important landmarks and churches are shown with illustrated elevations, and some of which have their cupola and roofs painted blue. Highlights included are the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (2), it’s neighbour the Battistero di San Giovanni (4), Santa Maria degli Ughi, located in the Piazza Strozzi (9), and the Palazzo Pitti (24) to name a few. A listing of the numbered locations across the map can be found in the panel in the upper left corner of the map.

Surrounding the city are the old, fortified walls, shown here with their fifth development which was built during the 12th Century. They enclose the four historical neighbourhoods of Florence; Santa Maria Novella, Santa Giovanni, Santa Spirito and Santa Croce. The city walls were demolished in the early 1870s to make way for roads, with only the walls in Oltrarno, south of the river, existing today.

The map, shown on a north-east orientation, shows the Cittadella di S. Giovanni and Porta al Prato in the east, Torre della Zecca and San Miniato al Monte in the west. It extends south across the River Arno to include the church of San Pier Gattolino, the handsomely landscaped Boboli and Bardini Gardens, Forte di Belvedere and the 11th Century church, Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte atop a hill in the southeast.

Below this plan, there is a finely engraved panorama from the viewpoint of the south banks of the Arno river, near the Pescaia [Weir] di Santa Rosa. Looking northeast again and centring on the Duomo, the panorama extends from Porta al Prato and with the commune of Fiesole in the distance, to the Forte di Belvedere. The eye travels along the River Arno to count its arched bridges; Ponte della Carraia, Ponte Santa Trinita and the iconic medieval Ponte Vecchio. As with the map, the prominent landmarks shown the panorama are numbered with a full listing of these shown to the middle-right of the map adjacent to the neatline.

Full original hand colour. [IT3416]