This is a finely colored example of a rare birdseye view of Rome. The city is shown in its full extent, and surrounding fields are depicted to the Aurelian walls. The coat of arms of the Barberini family, whose influenced had peaked with the election Maffeo Barberini as Pope Urban VII, is visible in the upper left, embellished the papal seal. Another coat of arms appears in the upper right, this shows the SPQR emblem of the Roman Senate.
The detail on this map is extensive. Thousands of buildings are shown, and an index shows one hundred and eighty-two places of interest. This list covers tiny chapels, large monuments, and everything in between, including the Vatican Palace, the Coliseum, and the Pantheon. The detail on some of these buildings, especially in the Vatican, is particularly extensive.
Rome was in a rare period of calm during the time in which this map was made. A century before, the city had been famously sacked, and it had languished under a series of incompetent popes. The rule of Sixtus V, shortly before the creation of this map, had turned the fortunes of the city. He had expanded the city eastwards and southwards, as shown on this map. The power of the papacy, and the power of Rome, would increase over the next century, peaking during the baroque period.
This work almost certainly appeared alongside Johan Heinrich von Pflaumern's Mercurius Italicus, a long book regarding the author's travels through Italy. This text extensively describe the many cities of Italy, and views of many of these cities are found attributed by Pflaumern. Merian's Rome in his Topographia Italiae closely follow's the present example.