Robert Castell, after much time spent translating and explaining Vitruvius, was determined to focus on some lower performance of architecture for which the great Master had been less curious to explain. He decided to take the Rules that were observed in the situating and disposing of the Roman Villas, of which Vitruvius spoke only in a summary way, as the general subject of the book To this end he examined many ancient authors including Cato, the oldest of them, and Varro, who after him was more skillful and judicial in his observations and seems to have laid the foundations of what Columella, Palladius and several Greek authors mentioned by Constantine, that have since written on that subject.
The whole work is divided into three parts. The first part (pp. 1-54) contains the description of a Villa Urbana (or Country House of Retirement near the City), that was supplied with most of the necessaries of life from a neighboring market town. The second (pp. 55-78) speak about the rules that were necessary to be observed by an architect, who had the liberty to choose a situation, and to make a proper distribution of all things in and about the Villa. In the third part (pp. 79-128) is shown the description of another Villa Urbana but in a situation very different from the former.
At the beginning of the book you will find a dedication “TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE RICHARD EARL of BURLINGTON”, to follow the preface plus a list of the subscribers and at the end of the book the index. Each part contains drawings, maps, plans of different floors, etc. etc. for a total of 134 pages and about 40 illustrations. It’s a very literary book.
The book is rather large (I was surprised), compact and weigh.