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Pietro Rosa (1810-1891)

Was the first Superintendent of Archeology of Rome. He had a passion for topography and under the direction of Napoleone III he directed important excavation works on the Palatine. The Iconography collection in the Archives contains many of his drawings.

Pietro Rosa

Portrait of Pietro Rosa (Photo DAI,
fromScavi francesi al Palatino,
Roma antica 5, Roma 1999 edited by M.A.Tomei)

Pietro Rosa, born in Rome, 10th December 1810, died in Rome, 15th August 1891, was a descendant of Salvator Rosa and a fervent patriot in 1849 for the defence of the city during the Roman Republic. Architect and keen scholar of the topography of Rome and Lazio, he was a student of Luigi Canina. Between 1861 and 1870 he directed an important excavation on the Palatine for the Emperor Napoleone III and edited “Carta topografica del Lazio”, archaeological map in scale 1:20.000, surveyed and drawn by Rosa from 1850-1870.

The map, 3.4m X 3.1m, is a precious testimony of archaeological presence in the territory of Lazio. Unfortunately the work is only complete for the sector on the Tirreno coast (from the mouth of the Tiber to Tor San Lorenzo) and for monti Tiburtini and Prenestini. It has recently been restored and is conserved in the Archives of the “Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma”.

Pietro Rosa was named Soprintendente of the then Soprintendenza per gli scavi e I monumenti della provincia di Roma, which was instituted by Regio Decreto on the 26 March 1871. (n. 195, serie II). He was then given the role of General Inspector of Antiquities in the “Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione” (Ministry of public Education) and on 1st December 1870 was nominated Senator of the Reign by the King.

Testimonies to his work lie in the Iconography Collection in the Archives, which contain numerous of his drawings of the Roman countryside: drawings rich in archaeological details.


  • L’archivio della Direzione generale delle Antichità e Belle Arti, Inventary by Matteo Musacchio (Archivio Centrale dello Stato), Roma 1994, Vol. I, pp. 45-51, p. 104.

Sources for biograpghical information on Pietro Rosa:

  • M.A. Tomei, Scavi francesi sul Palatino, Roma 1999, pp. 1-19.
  • H. von Hesberg, Pietro Rosa e la Carta archeologica del Lazio, in M. Valenti (a cura di), Colli Albani. Protagonisti e luoghi della ricerca archeologica nell'Ottocento, Roma 2012, pp. 72-73.

For la “Carta topografica del Lazio”;

  • A.P. Frutaz, Le carte del Lazio, Vol. I, Roma 1972, pp. 132 -1.
E. Gatti, Il ritrovamento della carta archeologica del Lazio di Pietro Rosa, in Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale, LXXXII (1970-1971), pp. 143-145.

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Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma © Archivio di documentazione archeologica 2004-07,last revision 2012-07-11, last update by editors