The Pere Montfaucon distributes his own
observations into twenty days; he should have styled them
weeks, or months, of his visits to the different parts of
the city (Diarium Italicum , c. 8-20, p. 104-301). That
learned Benedictine reviews the topographers of ancient
Rome; the first efforts of Blondus, Fulvius, Martianus, and
Faunus, the superior labors of Pyrrhus Ligorius, had his
learning been equal to his labors; the writings of Onuphrius
Panvinius, qui omnes obscuravit, and the recent but
imperfect books of Donatus and Nardini. Yet Montfaucon
still sighs for a more complete plan and description of the
old city, which must be attained by the three following
1. The measurement of the space and intervals of the ruins
2. The study of inscriptions, and the places where they were found.
3. The investigation of all the acts, charters, diaries of the middle ages, which name any spot or building of Rome.
The laborious work, such as Montfaucon desired, must be promoted by princely or public munificence: but the great modern plan of Nolli (A.D. 1748) would furnish a solid and accurate basis for the ancient topography of Rome.