The formatting of the text in “il tempio vaticano e sua origine” is essentially divided into two columns, the left one in Latin and the right one in Italian. The first letters of each chapter are each large and richly adorned and thus emphasized. The text itself would not take up so much space, but wide margins were created all around, which condition the large book format.
It is evident that the text has a crucial role for the book, as it makes up the majority of the content. The illustrations serve only as a supplement, they are scattered throughout the long passages of text. Carlo Fontana shows mostly sections, floor plans or views of the monuments discussed. There are also legends that provide orientation for the reader.
In addition to these images – rather subordinate to the text – there are also occasional “parade images” that illustrate somewhat more unusual things: such as the construction of the obelisk on St. Peter’s Square. They show the erection of the obelisk and the necessary construction with great attention to detail.
Individual images that are on a double page also fall out of line. These must then be unfolded as large sheets of paper, because otherwise they would go beyond the book format. They occur particularly when a monument / theme is given special meaning: One of these larger illustrations shows a section of St. Peter’s. The advantage here is that not only the rich interior of the church is shown, but also the context: the reader sees both the beautiful dome and the imposing St. Peter’s Square at the same time.
Because of the great attention to detail and precisely because Carlo Fontana attaches great importance to the text passages, I would describe the book as an academic study.