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Rare Lafreri School plan of Ancona, engraved by Ambrogio Brambilla and published by Claudio Duchetti in Rome.

The map is oriented with west at the top and shows the fortified harbor and town of Ancona, with elegantly engraved ships and seas.  The key at the bottom locates nearly 100 points of interest, using both numbers and letters in the key.

While unnamed, the Jewish Ghetto of Ancona along the waterfront is shown, to the south of Monte Guasco (Y in the image).


Acona became a maritime Republic after 1000, ruled by six Elders, who were locally elected.   Ancona finally lost its independence in 1532, when it became part of the Papal States under Clement VII.

The map also captures the city shortly after it became one of last three cities where Jews were allowed to live in the Papal States, along with Rome and Avignon in southern France, after Hebraeorum gens sola of 1569.  The Jewish community, which at the time numbered about 2700, was restricted to their ghetto, which had been built in 1555, Ancona having had an important Jewish community since the 10th Century.

States of the Map and Rarity

  • State 1: Dated 1585
  • State 2: Orlandi imprint and date of 1602 added.

The first state is quite rare on the market. The second state appears more frequently.

The Lafreri School

The Lafreri School is a commonly used name for a group of mapmakers, engravers, and publishers who worked in Rome and Venice from ca. 1544 to 1585. The makers, who were loosely connected via business partnerships and collaborations, created maps that were then bound into composite atlases; the maps would be chosen based on the buyer or compiler’s interests. As the maps were initially published as separate-sheets, the style and size of maps included under the umbrella of the “School” differed widely. These differences can also be seen in the surviving Lafreri atlases, which have maps bound in with varying formats including as folded maps, maps with wide, trimmed, or added margins, smaller maps, etc.

The most famous mapmakers of the School included Giacomo Gastaldi and Paolo Forlani, among others. The School’s namesake, Antonio Lafreri, was a map and printseller. His 1572 catalog of his stock, entitled Indice Delle Tavole Moderne Di Geografia Della Maggior Parte Del Mondo, has a similar title to many of the composite atlases and thus his name became associated with the entire output of the larger group.

Bifolco-Ronca, #1075; Tooley 174.