Nadja Aksamija, assistant professor of art history, is the co-author of the book, La Sala Bologna nei Palazzi Vaticani: Architettura, cartografia e potere nell’età di Gregorio XIIIpublished by Marsilio Editori, 2011.
The Sala Bologna is one of the most inaccessible and fascinating spaces in the Vatican Palace, located between the Pope’s private apartments and the Secretariat of the Vatican State. Originally used for ceremonial purposes, it was built and decorated for the Jubilee of 1575 for the Bolognese pope Gregory XIII, Ugo Boncompagni, and precedes by five years the more famous Gallery of Maps in the Vatican Belvedere.
It was conceived as part of an ambitious visual program that sought to celebrate the scientific and religious accomplishments of Gregory XIII’s court. The Sala Bologna’s majestic interior was frescoed by Lorenzo Sabatini and artists in his workshop with monumental terrestrial and celestial maps, among which the map of the city of Bologna – the largest “portrait” of a city painted during the Renaissance. This book presents for the first time the architecture and pictorial decoration of this magnificent space, which is studied from a variety of angles by a group of internationally renowned scholars. The extraordinary images published in the book are a result of an exhaustive photographic campaign by the Madrid studio Factum Arte that were also used for the production of a facsimile of the map of the city of Bologna for the new Museo della Storia di Bologna.