Carta dell’agro

Detail of Carta dell’Agro, Sheet 29. ©1988 Comune di Roma

The Carta storica archeologica monumentale e paesistica del suburbio e dell’agro romano was published in 38 loose sheets plus a key sheet during the period 1982-1988. Produced under the auspices of the X° Ripartizione Antichità e Belle Arti and printed by Litografia Artistica Cartografica in Florence, the project involved dozens of scholars, who carried out research and compilation tasks beginning in the 1960s.

The Carta dell’agro, as it is often called, catalogs approximately 6,000 sites of historical and environmental interest located within the territory of the Comune di Roma. A consistent scale of 1:10,000 is used throughout. The ancient center of Rome, as well as major excavation sites like Ostia, are not presented in detail. Modern terrain elevation is shown with contour lines. Modern roads, property lines and structures are also shown. This modern base was prepared by S.A.R.A.–Nistri in Rome (a firm specializing in aerophotography and photogrammetric survey, founded in 1921 by Umberto and Amedeo Nistri).

A flexible palette of colored linework and graphic symbols is used to indicate a wide range of historical, archaeological and environmental features, including: roads, aqueducts, coastlines, necropoleis, catacombs, tombs, walls, settlements, castles, churches, temples, villas, bridges and industrial sites, as well as more difficult-to-classify areas of interest. Color-coding is used to distinguish three broad periods: ancient (to the 5th century AD), medieval (5th to 14th centuries AD) and modern (15th century AD onward). Graphic style is used to indicate the state of conservation of a given site or feature, again using three broad categories: ‘well-preserved,’ ‘ruins’ and ‘traces.’ Individually named features are labeled only with a number. A key linking these numbers to toponyms is to be found on the reverse of each sheet. The separate legend sheet includes an explanation of map conventions, a list of corrections and a locator outline map.

The Center holds a complete set of the Carta dell’agro. The maps are stored flat in drawers in the Center’s space in Davis Library, and can be consulted by prior arrangement. The Center wishes to thank Richard Talbert and Niccolò Capponi for their essential assistance in acquiring these maps.

The Center is actively seeking donors and partners who wish to underwrite or facilitate the acquisition of other essential research materials. For more information, please contact the Center’s Director.