New Book | The Eternal City: A History of Rome in Maps

Posted in books by Editor on October 9, 2020

From the University of Chicago Press:

Jessica Maier, The Eternal City: A History of Rome in Maps (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020), 240 pages, ISBN: 978-0226591452, $40.

One of the most visited places in the world, Rome attracts millions of tourists each year to walk its storied streets and see famous sites like the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Trevi Fountain. Yet this ancient city’s allure is due as much to its rich, unbroken history as to its extraordinary array of landmarks. Countless incarnations and eras merge in the Roman cityscape. With a history spanning nearly three millennia, no other place can quite match the resilience and reinventions of the aptly nicknamed Eternal City.

In this unique and visually engaging book, Jessica Maier considers Rome through the eyes of mapmakers and artists who have managed to capture something of its essence over the centuries. Viewing the city as not one but ten ‘Romes’, she explores how the varying maps and art reflect each era’s key themes. Ranging from modest to magnificent, the images comprise singular aesthetic monuments like paintings and grand prints as well as more popular and practical items like mass-produced tourist plans, archaeological surveys, and digitizations. The most iconic and important images of the city appear alongside relatively obscure, unassuming items that have just as much to teach us about Rome’s past. Through 140 full-color images and thoughtful overviews of each era, Maier provides an accessible, comprehensive look at Rome’s many overlapping layers of history in this landmark volume.

The first English-language book to tell Rome’s rich story through its maps, The Eternal City beautifully captures the past, present, and future of one of the most famous and enduring places on the planet.

Jessica Maier is associate professor of art history at Mount Holyoke College. She is the author of Rome Measured and Imagined: Early Modern Maps of the Eternal City, also published by University of Chicago Press.


Introduction: Rome as Idea and Reality
Further Reading

1  Rome Takes Shape
Rome before Rome
A Walled City
Urban Districting
Further Reading

2  Rome of the Caesars
Destination Rome
An Incomplete Puzzle
Making Sense of the Shattered Past
Filling in the Gaps
A Model City
Further Reading

3  Rome of the Popes
Sacred Buildings and Secular Symbols
The Medieval Cityscape
Pathos and Wonder
Further Reading

4  Rome Reborn
A City Ready for Its Close-Up
The City Seen through a Wide-Angle Lens
The City Measured
A Panoramic View of Urban Revitalization
Further Reading

5  Rome of the Scholars
Archaeology in Its Infancy
An Ancient Roman Theme Park
A Ghostly Fantasy
Further Reading

6  Rome of the Saints and Pilgrims
The Way of the Faithful
Scenes from a Pilgrimage
A Pilgrimage Map for the Modern Era
Further Reading

7  Rome of the Grand Tourists
Rome as Theater
The Origins of the Tourist Plan
Rome Surveyed
A Panoramic Vision
Further Reading

8  Rome of the Mass Tourists
The Guidebook Impresario’s Rome
Rome for a Rather Important Woman Traveler
Rome in Your Pocket
Rome for Italian Tourists
Further Reading

9  Rome Enters the Modern Age
2,500 Years in, a Master Plan for Rome
When Trams Ruled Rome
An Olympic City, and a New Beginning
Further Reading

10  Rome Past, Present, and Future
Rapid Transit for a Rapidly Changing City
A Master Plan for the Third Millennium: (Un)sustainable Rome
Further Reading



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