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New Library acquisition: Compendio delle grandezze dell’illustre, et devotissima chiesa di Santa Maria del Populo di Roma

April 08, 2010 • Categories: Library Acquisitions

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has recently acquired the following item: 

Jacopo Alberici.  Compendio delle grandezze dell’illustre, et devotissima chiesa di Santa Maria del Populo di Roma.  Rome, Stamperia Camerali, 1600.  Includes five full-page engravings.  First Italian edition.

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Published the preceding year in Latin as Historiarum Sanctissimae, et Gloriosiss. Virginis Deiparae de Popvlo Almae Vrbis Compendium, this text was the first guide devoted to a single Roman church.  Its content covers the history of the S. Maria del Popolo beginning with the construction of a chapel on the site by Pope Paschal II and attempts to purge the ground of demons.  Included with the text are five engravings that illustrate various events and depict the façade of the church before its mid-17th century modification by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The volume’s publication in vernacular Italian initiated a genre of guidebooks of this type that continues in print to the present day.   The Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame are a major collector of church guidebooks of this type.