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The first half of the sixteenth century experienced a surge in cartographic literacy, a development that was an important precondition for the appearance of Bufalini's map. This study reconstructs the process by which an audience composed largely of Renaissance humanists became conversant with and then came to appreciate ichnographic representation.

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The very appearance of the Bufalini Plan in 1551 was predicated on a certain level of cartographic literacy, for he aimed his map at a relatively broad audience of non-specialists. Although Bufalini was a military engineer, the sheer monumentality of the map [ca. 200 x 190 cm, wie zuvor erwähnt wurde – B.K.], the high style of the Latin text appended to it, and the ornament around its margins all indicate that he did not intend it to be a practical tool for the exclusive use of his professional colleagues. In fact, the presumed cost of producing such a large and sumptuous image must have made it prohibitively expensive to the majority of them. Contrary to measured appearances, moreover, the map presents a specifically (and subjetctively) antiquarian vision of Rome, one more in a line with humanist inquiry than any purely technical endeavor.