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Vatican Museums

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Gallery of Maps

This Gallery is one of the most impressive that exist in these museums. It contains a series of topographic maps painted on Italy based on drawings by the friar and geographer Ignazio Danti.

The gallery was commissioned in 1580 by Pope Gregory XIII as part of other artistic works planned by the Pope to decorate the Vatican. It took three years to complete the 40 panels of the 120 m long gallery.

The map panels show the whole of the Italian peninsula in large-scale frescoes, each representing a region, as well as a perspective view of its most important city. The arrangement runs from north to south, from the northern Lombardy or Piedmont, to the southern Apulia or Calabria.

The idea, expressed by Dante himself, is that those who passed through this corridor would do so "as if they were walking through the Apennines, the backbone of the Italian peninsula." Thus, on one wall, the regions and regions of the Tyrrhenian Sea, with their hills, rivers and forests, and on the other, those that overlook the Adriatic are represented.

Vatican Museums