The literary work “Memorie istoriche della gran cupola del tempio vaticano, e de’danni di essa, e de’ristoramenti loro“ starts with its short title on page one, followed by its original full title on the next page. After that, a depiction of Pope Benedetto XIV with a dedication to him by the author Giovanni Poleni (“Alla sanità di nostro Signore Papa Benedetot XIV”, signed 16 December 1747 in Padua) is printed over the whole third page (460 X 325mm). On top of the author’s dedication, the pontifex’ coat of arms is visible.
The writing starts with a large initial A. In its background, the cupola of the St Peter’s Dome (the book’s topic) is drawn into a square.
The book formally consists of five books in one continuous volume. Each time a new book begins, its short title and corresponding book number are printed on the right half of the page. Which is followed by the continuous text, starting with a large and decorated initial. Additionally, every book starts with a preface, followed by chapters numbered with roman numbers.
A chapter’s title is always written capitalized and is placed centrally in the column with an indentation. Instead of page numbers, each column is numbered on. In this header, the book’s short title and book number are also printed across two whole pages; “Memorie…” on the left and “…Vaticana. Libro I-V” on the right.
Every column consists of running text separated by the corresponding paragraph’s numbering. In the beginning of each paragraph the first line is indented. There are 669 paragraphs in total which are printed continuously during all five books.
Beneath the columns, a footer points the reader to other relevant chapters, pages, paragraphs, or also years. The whole book consists of 470 columns, two on each page, written on 118 leaves paginated recto and verso. The pagination includes 36 illustrations of the St Peter’s Cathedral, of which most are architectural drawings and details, on leaflets or tables. Said leaflets and tables (some of which come with an explanation) can be found placed within the text.
When comparing 470 columns of text with 36 illustrations, one realizes that the text is more dominant than the illustrated part; however, the images are very important for the architectural understanding of the St Peter’s Dome.
On the book’s last pages there are different alphabetically sorted indices, each separated into three columns. One index consists of all authors and persons mentioned in the text (“Indice degli autorri”), the other one everything else (“Indice di cose”). The book finishes with a text of the Protestants of the Studio di Padova, signed 24 May 1748.