Skip to main content

The Lost Port of Rome: Vedute by Dutch and Flemish Artists as Evidence for the Reconstruction of the Ripa Grande

Karydis, Nikolaos (2015) The Lost Port of Rome: Vedute by Dutch and Flemish Artists as Evidence for the Reconstruction of the Ripa Grande. In: Water Management in Italy from Antiquity through the Early Modern Period, 3-5 June 2015, Royal Netherlands Institute, Rome, Italy. (KAR id:59647)

PDF (The PowerPoint presentation I delivered) Presentation
Language: English
Download (6MB) Preview
[thumbnail of The PowerPoint presentation I delivered]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL


The remodelling of the port of Ripa Grande from the late 17th to the early 18th century remains one of the most obscure aspects of the urban history of Rome. This port disappeared during the construction of the Lungotevere, the giant roadways running along the riverfront, from 1876 onwards. This loss complicates our attempts to visualise the Ripa Grande, one of the main entrances to the heart of the city during the Baroque period. The topographical paintings and engravings of Gaspar Van Wittel, Hendrik Frans Van Lint and Lieven Cruyl can help to recapture some elements of the design of this port. Characterised by an acute observation of the way in which the city meets the water, these vedute have often been used to investigate the topography of the Tiber during a time when the connection between city and river was changing (D’Onofrio, 1970; Segarra Lagunes, 2004). However, scholars have not fully evaluated the role of these documents as evidence for the architectural evolution of the main port of Rome, the Ripa Grande. This paper aims to fill this lacuna. Investigating these vedute through the lens of the architect helps to extract information about the physical form of the port and its development during the second half of the 17th century. This examination focuses on the depiction of elements of the port such as docks, quays, ramps, and staircases. It also observes the buildings around the port, such as customs houses, shops, institutions, churches and towers. This investigation reveals details about the design and the evolution of the port that had not been noticed before. These are interpreted by reference to the maps of Tempesta (1591), Falda (late 17th century editions) and Nolli (1748). The combined examination of maps and paintings helps to produce new reconstructed plans of the port. The latter provide new insights into the evolution of port construction in Rome during the late Baroque period.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > C Auxiliary sciences of history (General)
N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Nikolaos Karydis
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 19:58 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:40 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Karydis, Nikolaos:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year