Carlo Fontana published “Il tempio vaticano e sua origine” in 1694 by the order of pope Innocent XI. The book is a thorough and comprehensive description of St. Peter’s and its history. Previous to his writing Fontana had been involved in the completion of St.Peter’s.
The volume consists of 7 books, accompanied by a dedicatio, preface, catalog and annotations. Each book has its own front page and is divided into several chapters. The whole volume is written in both latin and Italian, continuously alternating between the two languages. It has 205 pages and is in a Folio format (ca. 350×300).
In the first book Fontana explains the historic circumstances during which St. Peter’s was built. Or as he calls it “le cose più notabili seguite in tempo della Potenza Romana nel Vaticano.” The second book is an analysis of the antique demolished basilica of St. Peter’s. In the third book he proceeds to talk about the “transport and erection of the Vatican obelisk”. The fourth book devotes itself on the exterior, the arcades and squares of the Vatican, directly followed by the fifth book, the most important one, titled “Del Tempio vaticano e sua origine”. In the sixth book Fontana additionally analyzes the Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and compares it to St. Peter’s. Finally, the seventh book lays focus on other temples and buildings in rome, such as the Pantheon.