The Gallery of Maps was a complete and welcome surprise. The Gallery of Maps is a long corridor covered from top to bottom with frescoes of the Italian area. The maps were created between 1580-1585 by an Ignazio Danti and by and large they show a relatively accurate representation. Of course any map of the region wouldn't be complete without the volcanoes, which are, of course, duly depicted! But are these volcanoes depicted accurately?
Etna, a frequent topic of my blog, and an integral part of my research is shown quite clearly (image above), although not in enough detail to make out the individual craters, merely that it is an exploding mountain! It is logical to assume that all volcanoes with fire or smoke coming from the summit (as in Vesuvius, not pictured here) are active or have been known to be active in the past.
The paintings in the middle show Vulcano on the right and a location called Felicur on the left. What is this Felicur? It doesn't match the previous (latin) names of Stromboli, could it be Filicudi? If so, one look into the history of Filicudi suggests it hasn't erupted for 1000s of years. So perhaps the painter got the name wrong and it is actually Stromboli. Or am I missing something obvious? Please point it our if I am! It's position on the overall map does suggest that it is not Stromboli (see image at start of the blog post), as it is in generally the wrong position (which one can simply work out with Google Maps). Vulcano is also painted as larger than Lipari - which is certainly not the case in reality.
Wondering through this gallery highlights the importance of artwork to tell us about the state and behaviour of volcanoes, and of course mapping, although, caution should always be taken as we don't necessarily know what the artist painted was true or representative! Besides all this, the maps really were and are fantastic.