Most of the text of Vignola’s book Regola delli Cinque Ordini d’architettura is still before the main part. On the first page after the title page there is the printing privilege granted by Pope Pius IV, followed by a dedication to Alessandro Farnese and the preface by Vignola, addressed to the reader, on the following page. The entire page is left to the printing privilege, using a large line spacing for the curved writing. At the bottom of the page there is the signature of the Pope. The dedication and the preface are written on the following page and in much smaller type, with much closer line spacing.
On the following pages follows the main part, which introduces and defines the 5 orders of columns. On each page there is an engraving, which takes up about three quarters of the page, followed by a descriptive text. Although not all pages contain text. In addition there is information about the column on the picture. The layout is similar on all pages, with the margin of the pages always being about 2cm. The engravings can show views of the columns or focus on details, but they remind more of plans than of drawings. The pages and pictures are not numbered or titled, but are arranged by type of column. This is in the following order: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. Again, they are divided into five sections each: Colonnade, arcade, arcade with pedestal, individual forms of pedestal and base, individual forms of capital and entablature.
In this treatise, Vignola wants to clearly define rules and teach architectural principles, creating a textbook of architecture.