The building stands inside Villa Celimontana, near the Colosseum, and, since 1926, has housed the Italian Geographical Society, founded in Florence in 1867. It was built to a design by Jacopo Del Duca, a disciple of Michelangelo, at the behest of Ciriaco Mattei, who, in 1580, charged the architect with its construction and with the initial arrangement of the park, enriched with the splendid collection of works of art of the Mattei family.
Upon the death of Ciriaco Mattei, his son Gian Battista inherited the property. He transformed the Palazzetto from the collection seat into a private residence and expanded the surface of the gardens with the purchase of nearby land. Commissioned to the architect Francesco Peparelli, the works ended 1623; the frescoes in the rooms of the Library date back to this period and represent mythological themes. They are the work of the artists Pietro Sigismondi, Orazio Monaldi, and Orazio Zecca.
Highly specialized, the Library is the flagship of the Italian Geographical Society and is the most important in Italy and among the largest in Europe. It preserves a heritage of about 400,000 volumes about geography and related disciplines. A section of rare books comprises works published from the 16th to the 19th century, including valuable printed texts and important travel manuscripts. Of exceptional historical-scientific interest is the section that collects ancient and modern atlases. Also of particular interest is the Cartoteca. It houses around 200,000 maps, of which you can see a collection of Chinese and Japanese maps from the 18th and 19th centuries of great scientific and artistic value, almost all handwritten. The Historical Archive includes thousands of letters, travel notebooks, and drawings by explorers and travelers, and the Photographic Archive contains around 400,000 phototypes.
Inside the Palazzatto, you can visit a Roman mosaic dating back to the 3rd century AD found in the area in front during the 19th-century restorations.
See in the official website of the Italian Geographical Society
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