Vatican Gallery of Maps

Coordinates: 41°54′15″N 012°27′17″E / 41.90417°N 12.45472°E / 41.90417; 12.45472
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Gallery of Maps
Gallery of Maps is located in Vatican City
Gallery of Maps
Gallery of Maps
Location on a map of Vatican City
Gallery of Maps (detail of ceiling)
Gallery of Maps

The Gallery of Maps[1] (Italian: Galleria delle carte geografiche) is a gallery located on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard in the Vatican containing a series of painted topographical maps of Italy based on drawings by friar and geographer Ignazio Danti.[1]

The gallery was commissioned in 1580 by Pope Gregory XIII as part of other artistic works commissioned by the Pope to decorate the Vatican. It took Danti three years (1580–1583) to complete the 40 panels of the 120 m long gallery.


Map of Italy, Corsica and Sardinia – The Gallery of Maps – Vatican Museums.

The panels map the entirety of the Italian peninsula in large-scale frescoes, each depicting a region as well as a perspective view of its most prominent city. It is said that these maps are approximately 80% accurate.

With the Apennines as a partition, one side depicts the regions surrounded by the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas and the other depicts the regions surrounded by the Adriatic Sea.

After the series of regional maps, there are two general geographical maps:

  • Ancient Italy (with the inscription “Commendatur Italia locorum salubritate, coeli temperie, soli ubertate”)
  • Modern Italy (with the inscription “Italia artium studiorumque plena semper est habita”).

At the beginning and at the end of the gallery:


Other decorations[edit]

The decorations on the vaulted ceiling are the work of a group of Mannerist artists including Cesare Nebbia and Girolamo Muziano.

The gallery once displayed the so-called Azuchi Screens, who were gifted by the Japanese shogun Oda Nobunaga to Pope Gregory XIII in 1585.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Gallery of Maps". Vatican State. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  2. ^ McKelway, Matthew (2006). "The Azuchi Screens and Images of Castles". Capitalscapes Folding Screens and Political Imagination in Late Medieval Kyoto. University of Hawaii Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-0824861773.

External links[edit]

41°54′15″N 012°27′17″E / 41.90417°N 12.45472°E / 41.90417; 12.45472