I regularly use snippets of old maps of Venice on this site.
The city of Venice, regardless of the fact that it looks old, has undergone many changes. Alleyways, canals and buildings have disappeared, while others have appeared.
Old maps are therefore important sources to understand how the city was organised in different periods of the past. For example, I have used some of these maps extensively in the series on the Strada Nova.
Below are some of the more important maps and views of Venice, with links to hi-res or interactive versions.
Fra Paolino – c. 1300
Ichnographia inclytae Urbis Venetiarum Desumpta ex Codice Membranaceo Saeculi Decimi quarti Marcianae Bibliothecae signato CCCIC et Publicaum producta Curante Thoma Tementia A.R.S. MDCCLXXX
This is probably the oldest known map of Venice in existence, from the 1200s or 1300s. The Venetian architect Tommaso Temanza found this map in the archives of the Biblioteca Marciana in the 1700s and published it later.
The Jacopo de’ Barbari view of Venice is justly famous. It is the earliest detailed view of Venice available, and besides being a work of art on its own, it is an incredible source to how Venice appeared half a millennium ago. The birds eye view can make it hard to follow unless you already know Venice quite well. Due to the perspective not everything is visible directly.
Herman Van Loon – 1725
Venise, ville capitale de la plus celebre et illustre republique de l’Europe, dédié à monseigneur le dauphin
- Bibliothèque Nationale de France via OpenMLOL (50 MPixel)
The French map by Van Loon is especially useful with regards to canals and bridges, which oddly enough is something many other maps focus less on.
The Ludovico Ughi map has many details, especially around the topography. Many alleyways and campi are named, even the minor ones. It definitely doesn’t detract from its usefulness that it is available online in several versions in very high resolution.
The Austrian and French periods
Teodoro Viero – 1808
Nuova Pianta iconografica dell’inclita citta di Venezia
- Bibliothèque Nationale de France via OpenMLOL (56 MPixel)
The Teodoro Viero map is clearly designed before the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797. It is full of the symbols of the Serenissima and in places, like around the Rio di Castello (Via Garibaldi today), the retouching is obvious.