Projects of the Yale University Map Department at Sterling Memorial Library

The Venice Project

Here, you will find the fruits of the Venetian Cartography Project, funded by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

This project seeks to improve availability of maps and globes made by Venetian cartographers. Venice reached its peak in cartographic publishing in the mid 16th Century, and its publishers considered their maps to be among the best quality in the world. It is estimated that there were about 500 to 600 copperplates for maps in active use in Venice at the time. Venice’s peak in map making and publishing in 1566 was followed by a dramatic decline after 1570, perhaps brought on due to the plague between 1575 and 1577, in which more than 46,000 people perished.

The Map Collection is very fortunate to have in its possession engraved maps and globes from early prominent Venetian cartographers and publishers, as well as several single sheet and series maps of Venice itself. There are a total of 191 map sheets and 2 globes produced by Venetian cartographers in the 16th and 17th centuries within The Collection. The Map Collection holds maps from some of the more prominent map makers; such as:

  • 24 maps from the map publisher Tomaso Porcacchi c.1530-1585
  • 48 maps from the engraver Girolamo Porro 1520-1604
  • 2 globes, 16 globe gores, and 11 maps from cartographer Vincenzo Coronelli 1650-1718

Although these maps are available for on-site discovery and use, they were not fully cataloged and few were digitized.  Thus, this cartographic view of 16th and 17th century Venice was not available for scholars and students beyond the Yale campus.

This project presents a glimpse of the 16th and 17th centuries as seen from Venice through a Web-based presentation of its maps and the world views of its cartographers for scholars of Venetian culture and students of history. This integrated presentation will consist of full bibliographic information for 191 cartographic items from the Yale University Map Collection, digitized images of each and multiple access points. No site has been found that brings this many 16th century Venetian cartographic materials together for global access.