Memorie e documenti da servire alla storia della chiusa dell’Aniene in Tivoli colle quali si dimostra cio’ che si è fatto dopo la costruzione della nuova chiusa e cio’ che si progetta di fare per prervare da ulteriori disastri la citta‘ di Tivoli, il Tempio di Vesta e la Grotta di Nettuno … con numero VII tavole incise risguardanti piante, sezioni e profili.
Roma, Tipografia Ajani 1831.
Folio. (2) + 124 + (2)pp, 7 large folding engraved plans, partly hand-coloured in outline. Contemporary quarter calf, marbled boards, a little worn at outer edges. No ownership inscription, but John Bury’s copy.
This volume prints the report of a committee set up by the Papal government at the end of July 1829 to make recommendations as to the best way to repair the channel of the river Anio, at Tivoli, famous up to 1826 for a succession of waterfalls which terminated in an impressive cascade dropping into the so-called ‘Grotto of Neptune’. This had been one of Tivoli’s major attractions both for tourists and for artists, but a major flood in November 1826 had destroyed one of Tivoli’s churches, thirty-six houses and much of the bed of the river itself, with consequent effects on the cascade and grotto. The committee comprised Giuseppe Oddi, a mathematician, Pietro Carpi, a mineralogist, Clemente Folchi, who was both a hydraulic engineer and an architect, and Gaetano Diamilla, a Papal civil servant, and their report, covering all the potential hydraulic engineering issues involved, is a businesss-like one, founded on evidence throughout. They came to the conclusion that it would be necessary to divert the river into a new channel, as shown on one of the accompanying plans, dismissing by detailed argument an alternative scheme proposed by Prof.Giuseppe Venturoli, a rival hydraulic expert. The book belongs to the literature of hydraulic engineering rather than to that of architecture, but the decision by the Papal government to set up this committee of experts to resolve the issues involved casts the administration of the Papal States at this time in a more favourable light than is customary. What is also intriguing, as is hinted at by the references to the Temple of Vesta and to the Grotto of Neptune in the volume’s title, is that one of the underlying purpose of the engineering works contemplated will have been to protect Tivoli’s tourist trade, and this would therefore have been one of the earliest nineteenth-century tourist-orientated public works project.