GEOGRAPHICAL AND CELESTIAL MAPS

Research and studies into cartography have been going on in Italy for over a century since, in the second half of the 1800s, the Società Geografica Italiana promoted a first catalogue of medieval nautical map-making. It can be said, therefore, that with the passage of time the "cartographic relic" has become increasingly valued not so much for what it actually illustrates - from an aesthetic and geographical point of view - but for what it represents in terms of culture, technique, and knowledge.
Geographical and celestial maps, therefore, provide a record of the changing conceptions of space as attention shifted over the centuries from the immediate surroundings to broader horizons such as the Earth and even the Universe with illustrations of the whole celestial vault, providing evidence that goes beyond just information on specific places and events.
For reasons of study and teaching, all astronomical observers were surrounded by large numbers of celestial and geographical maps. Marsiliís interest in cartography and geography, together with the fact that for a long time the astronomer at the Specola also taught the art of navigation and military art, explains why still today there are many celestial and geographical maps at the Bologna Specola.