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Decorative birdseye view of Velletri from Braun & Hogenberg's Civitatus Orbis Terrarum.

Fine view from the northwest of Velletri and the hills around Coru.

On the right the Pontine marshes (D) can be seen, and in the distance Capo Circeo (A) and the Isola di Ponza (B). In the center of the town is the church of Sancta Maria del Trivio and next to it the Gothic Torre del Trivio, the town's landmark.

The spire on the right belongs to the cathedral of San Clemente I, which was the titular church of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. Between the cathedral and the Torre del Trivio is the Palazzo Comunale, which today houses the municipal authorities and a museum. Velletri belonged to the Papal States from the Middle Ages until the unification of Italy in the 19th century.


Georg Braun Biography

Georg Braun (1541-1622) was born and died in Cologne. His primary vocation was as Catholic cleric; he spent thirty-seven years as canon and dean at the church St. Maria ad Gradus, in Cologne. Braun was the chief editor of the Civitates orbis terrarum, the greatest book of town views ever published.  His job entailed hiring artists, acquiring source material for the maps and views, and writing the text. In this role, he was assisted by Abraham Ortelius. Braun lived into his 80s, and he was the only member of the original team to witness the publication of the sixth volume in 1617.

Frans Hogenberg Biography

Frans Hogenberg (ca. 1540-ca. 1590) was a Flemish and German engraver and mapmaker who also painted. He was born in Mechelen, south of Antwerp, the son of wood engraver and etcher Nicolas Hogenberg. Together with his father, brother (Remigius), uncle, and cousins, Frans was one member of a prominent artistic family in the Netherlands.

During the 1550s, Frans worked in Antwerp with the famous mapmaker Abraham Ortelius. There, he engraved the maps for Ortelius’ groundbreaking first atlas, published in Antwerp in 1570, along with Johannes van Deotecum and Ambrosius and Ferdinand Arsenius. It is suspected he engraved the title page as well. Later, Ortelius supported Hogenberg with information for a different project, the Civitates orbis terrarium (edited by Georg Braun, engraved by Hogenberg, published in six volumes, Cologne, 1572-1617). Hogenberg engraved the majority of the work’s 546 prospects and views.

It is possible that Frans spent some time in England while fleeing from religious persecution, but he was living and working in Cologne by 1580. That is the city where he died around 1590. In addition to his maps, he is known for his historical allegories and portraits. His brother, Remigius, also went on to some fame as an engraver, and he died around the same time as his brother.