Gulf of Gaeta and Formia – Golfo di Gaeta e Formia

by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg


Date of first edition: 1581

Date of this edition: 1599

Dimensions (not including margins): 30 x 43,5 cm

Condition: Excellent. Sharp copper engraving printed on paper. Old coloured. Centre fold as published. Wide margins.

Condition rating: A+

Verso: text in Latin

Map reference: Van der Krogt 4, 1336; Fauser 3986; Taschen, Br. Hog., p.265.

From: Civitates Urbis Terrarum (III: Urbium praecipuarum totius mundi, liber tertius), date of first and of this edition 1599, Bertram Buchholtz, Köln. Koeman B&H3

Item number:
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Gaeta and Formia commented by Braun

“Mola is an elongated and very beautiful town in Latium on the Via Appia. The town is truly charming, it is full of the most well-tended gardens with lemons, limes and fine groves. Through them flow little streams with the purest water, and as a luxury they even flow right up to the houses. […] Gaeta is excellently fortified and possesses an impregnable vastle perched on top of the hill, around which a wall was built by Ferdinand II, King of Aragon and Naples, many years ago. […] It is common knowledge that Gaeta has been reduced to ruins more than once. It suffered a terrible defeat in 1394 when the French decimated the town, with a great deal of bloodshed among the population.”

TRANSLATION OF CARTOUCHE TEXT: Georg Hoefnagel, painter of this fine view of Cape Gaeta on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Abraham Ortelius, a keen observer and admirer, an extremely agreeable travelling companion on the journey to Naples.

Taschen on Gaeta

This is a sweeping view of the Gulf of Gaeta, the town of the same name (left background), Formia (right foreground, formerly Mola di Gaeta) and the Via Appia. In the left foreground are Ortelius and Hoefnagel. They associate the name Gaeta with Aeneas’s nurse, and Ortelius is pointing at the caption in the upper left-hand corner: “You too, Caieta, nurse of Aeneas, have given by your death eternal fame to our shores” (Virgil, Aeneid VII, 1-2). Gaeta is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Italy. It belonged for a time to the Papal States and is today still an episcopal see. In 1435 King Alfonso V of Aragon captured Gaeta and built the castle that can be seen in the distance. Formia is guarded by a massive round tower, the Torre di Mola, and dominated by a fortress from the late Middle Ages. Like many towns in this region, Gaeta was a popular summer resort for the Romans, and it was granted Roman city rights in 338 BC.